‘Maersk Forza’ closing in on helicopter wreckage recovery ops

The Maersk Forza subsea construction vessel, hired for recovery operations following a helicopter crash off Norway, is expected to arrive at Svalbard, Norway on Thursday and start recovery operations as soon as it is positioned over the site.

To remind, the Maersk Forza was hired by the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) to help with recovery of a helicopter that went missing offshore Norway last Thursday.

According to the AIBN, on October 26, 2017 helicopter flight CVS312 was en-route from Pyramiden to Kapp Heer with eight persons on board. The crew was last in contact with the air traffic services at Longyearbyen at 1506 hours local time. They were then instructed to contact Kapp Heer. The helicopter was soon after reported missing.

Following an investigation led by the AIBN with the Russian accredited representative and advisors from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) participating in the team and as a result of the search and rescue operations, the helicopter was found at a depth 209 meters approximately 2 km off the coastline North East of Kapp Heer, the AIBN informed on Tuesday, October 31.

The vessel, Maersk Forza, equipped with Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and a compensated crane was chartered to perform the recovery operation.

The AIBN noted that a specialist from the Russian helicopter manufacturing company will be on site to give lifting recommendations to maintain the wreckage integrity during the operation. Divers from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) will also assist during the recovery to ensure that no parts are lost in this phase.

Maersk Forza is expected to arrive at Svalbard on Thursday, November 2 and the recovery operation will start as soon as the vessel is positioned over the accident site.

The AIBN added on Tuesday that the wreckage would be transported accompanied by a representative from AIBN to a suitable facility on the Norwegian mainland for further investigation performed by investigators from AIBN and IAC.

At this stage, the investigation is focusing on the meteorological conditions at the time and site of the accident, the technical condition of the helicopter, and the experience and qualification of the pilots, the AIBN concluded.