ARCHIVED — Vol. 147, No. 46 — November 16, 2013

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Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts Ⅰ and VI — Offshore Operations)

Statutory authority

Aeronautics Act

Sponsoring department

Department of Transport

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Background

On March 12, 2009, a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter (see footnote 1) operated by Cougar Helicopters departed from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.), for the Hibernia Oilfield off the coast of N.L. with 16 passengers and 2 crew members on board. The helicopter suffered a catastrophic offshore accident and crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, near St. John’s, N.L. All but 1 of the 18 occupants drowned and the sole survivor (a passenger) suffered serious injuries.

Following an investigation of this accident, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada recommended in February 2011 that Transport Canada prohibit commercial operation of Category A transport helicopters over water when the sea state will not permit safe ditching and successful evacuation, and that emergency underwater breathing apparatus (EUBA) be mandatory for all occupants of helicopters involved in overwater flights who are required to wear a helicopter passenger transportation suit system.

Currently, Canadian offshore operations flights are being conducted only on the east coast of Canada where the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NSOPB) control all activities. However, it is expected that renewed interest in Arctic resource exploration and climate change resulting in longer available drilling seasons will result in new oil and gas exploration activity in these areas. Furthermore, the west coast may provide future opportunities for activities related to oil and gas resources, similar to resource exploration in Alaska.

Issue

The C-NLOPB and the C-NSOPB have already mandated the use of an emergency flotation system (EFS), an emergency system that prevents the airframe from sinking in the event of a ditching, and the use of emergency underwater breathing apparatus (EUBA), a breathing system delivering compressed air, carried by each person on board. Helicopter operators wishing to bid on the available work must comply with all requirements of the petroleum boards. However, there is no obligation for helicopter operators to have these safety measures and the onus is currently on the contracting company to include these provisions. The safety of passengers and crews of Canadian offshore operations flights cannot be left to reactive contractual obligations.

In addition, section 602.63 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), “Life Rafts and Survival Equipment — Flights over Water,” requires all persons on board helicopters operated over water having a temperature of less than 10°C to wear a passenger transportation suit system. This provision inadvertently applies to the crew members. Requiring crew members to wear a helicopter passenger transportation suit system limits their ability to manipulate controls and increases the likelihood of thermal exhaustion.

Objectives

The objectives of these proposed amendments are to reduce the risks associated with offshore operations flights by ensuring that future offshore flight operators follow a consistent national standard, to further harmonize the Canadian regulations with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and best practices, and to address the TSB’s recommendations. These proposed amendments would also eliminate the risks associated with requiring crew members to wear survival suits inappropriate to their duties.

Description

These proposed amendments would

  • — introduce a definition of “offshore operations flight” and of “emergency underwater breathing apparatus (EUBA);”
  • — require the carrying of supplemental underwater breathing apparatus for all occupants of helicopters involved in offshore operations flights in Canadian domestic operations where occupants are required to wear a helicopter transportation suit system;
  • — introduce the requirement that crew members and passengers be trained in the use of EUBAs;
  • — correct section 602.63 of the CARs, “Life Rafts and Survival Equipment — Flights over Water,” to replace the requirement that crew members wear helicopter passenger transportation suits with a requirement that crew members wear a helicopter crew member transportation suit;
  • — introduce the requirement that helicopters, including those required to carry life rafts pursuant to certain subsections of the Regulations, (see footnote 2) cannot be used for the conduct of offshore operations when the sea state reported at the destination exceeds the sea state for which the helicopters are certified for ditching in water (an exemption is provided for emergency operations). The aircraft float manufacturers provide data to specify the maximum sea state level for which the helicopter is certified for ditching. To determine whether or not a flight may proceed in non-emergency conditions, operators or crew members only need to ensure that the reported level of sea state at the destination is not greater than the maximum sea state level for which the helicopter is certified for ditching.

Consultation

In August 2011, a focus group composed of representatives of Government and the industry (i.e. Cougar Helicopters Inc., CHC Helicopter Operations, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board [C-NLOPB], the Helicopter Association of Canada [HAC], the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers [CAPP]) conducted two risk assessments to evaluate how to respond to the two TSB recommendations.

Different policy instruments (i.e. status quo, advisory and regulatory) were assessed against criteria such as the protection of life and the environment, the promotion of economic efficiency and the promotion of public confidence. The focus group concluded that performance-based regulation is the most pertinent instrument to mitigate the safety risks associated with offshore operations flights.

Rationale

Transport Canada cannot prohibit offshore operations flights based on sea state forecast, as recommended by the TSB, as helicopters are the only means of providing a rapid response to offshore facilities, and accurate sea state forecasting along the typically long flight route is often not possible. (see footnote 3)

ICAO Annex 6, Part Ⅲ — International Operations – Helicopters states that all helicopters intended to be flown over water shall be fitted with a permanent or rapidly deployable means of flotation so as to ensure a safe ditching of the helicopter when engaged in offshore operations flights, or other overwater operations as prescribed by the State of the Operator.

The focus group concluded that the EFS, which has been utilized internationally to mitigate the risks associated with helicopter offshore operations flights on moderate to high seas, would best address the TBS recommendation regarding sea state and would harmonize Canadian regulation with international standards.

Though ICAO does not, at this time, require the carrying of EUBAs, the United Kingdom and Norway, which oversee similar operations over cold water, have already included a EUBAs requirement in their national regulations. The North Sea Offshore Authorities (i.e. Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom) also have policy requirements regarding EUBAs similar to those of the C-NLOPB and the C-NSOPB.

The focus group concluded that the use of EUBAs would augment the breathing capability of an individual and assist in evacuation from an overturned or sinking helicopter after a ditching has occurred.

These proposed amendments would present consistent national standards to current and new entrants and meet ICAO’s standards.

These proposed amendments would not create incremental costs for current operators as the two Canadian companies operating helicopters offshore are already in compliance.

One-for-One Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

These proposed amendments would be enforced through the assessment of monetary penalties imposed under sections 7.6 to 8.2 of the Aeronautics Act, which carry a maximum fine of $3,000 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations, through suspension or cancellation of a Canadian aviation document, or through judicial action introduced by way of summary conviction, as per section 7.3 of the Aeronautics Act.

Contact

Chief
Regulatory Affairs (AARBH)
Civil Aviation
Safety and Security Group
Department of Transport
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5
Telephone (general inquiries): 613-993-7284 or 1-800-305-2059
Fax: 613-990-1198
Web site: www.tc.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to section 4.9 (see footnote a) and paragraphs 7.6(1)(a) (see footnote b) and (b) (see footnote c) of the Aeronautics Act (see footnote d), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts Ⅰ and VI — Offshore Operations).

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations to the Minister of Transport within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must be in writing and cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, and the date of publication of this notice, and be sent to the Chief, Regulatory Affairs (AARBH), Civil Aviation, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport, Place de Ville, Tower C, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5 (general inquiries — tel.: 613-993-7284 or 1-800-305-2059; fax: 613-990-1198; Internet address: http://www.tc.gc.ca).

Ottawa, November 7, 2013

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CANADIAN AVIATION REGULATIONS
(PARTS I AND VI — OFFSHORE OPERATIONS)

AMENDMENTS

1. Subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (see footnote 4) is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“EUBA” or “emergency underwater breathing apparatus” means a self-contained supplemental air supply that is designed to prolong the breathing capability of a passenger or a crew member during the evacuation of a helicopter that has overturned or is sinking after a ditching; (EUBA ou dispositif respiratoire submersible de secours)

“offshore operations flight” means a flight that is conducted to or from an offshore location and that is

  • (a) a flight in support of offshore oil, gas or mineral exploitation,
  • (b) a sea-pilot transfer flight, or
  • (c) a search and rescue flight; (vol d’exploitation extracôtière)

2. Subpart 2 of Part VI of Schedule II to Subpart 3 of Part Ⅰ of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after the reference “Subsection 602.63(7)”:

Column I


Designated Provision

Column II

Maximum Amount of Penalty ($)

Corporation

Individual

Section 602.64

3,000

15,000

Subsection 602.66(1)

3,000

15,000

Subsection 602.66(2)

3,000

15,000

Subsection 602.66(3)

3,000

15,000

3. (1) Paragraphs 602.63(7)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) a helicopter passenger transportation suit system is provided for each passenger on board;
  • (b) a helicopter crew member transportation suit system is provided for each crew member on board; and
  • (c) the pilot-in-command directs all persons on board to wear their helicopter transportation suit system.

(2) Subsection 602.63(8) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(8) Every person who has been directed to wear a helicopter transportation suit system pursuant to paragraph (7)(c) shall wear that suit system.

4. The reference “[602.64 to 602.69 reserved]” after section 602.63 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Offshore Operations Flight

602.64 Subject to section 602.65, no person shall operate a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight if the sea state reported at the destination exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified, as part of its type design, to conduct a ditching.

Emergency Exception

602.65 A person may, in order to respond to an emergency, operate a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight if the sea state reported at the destination exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified, as part of its type design, to conduct a ditching.

Emergency Underwater Breathing Apparatus (EUBA)

602.66 (1) No person shall operate a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight over Canadian waters unless

  • (a) a EUBA is provided for each person on board;
  • (b) each EUBA
    • (i) is readily accessible for immediate use in the event of a ditching,
    • (ii) can be donned quickly,
    • (iii) provides a supplemental air supply that is effective to a depth of at least 3.6 m, and
    • (iv) is not likely to pose a snagging risk during an evacuation of the helicopter; and
  • (c) each person on board has, in the 36-month period preceding the flight, received EUBA training that

    • (i) is specific to the type of EUBA provided,
    • (ii) includes classroom theory training on the use of the EUBA and its limits and hazards, and
    • (iii) includes practical pool training that simulates the evacuation of a helicopter that has overturned or is sinking after a ditching.

(2) No person shall operate a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight over Canadian waters that have a temperature of 10°C or more unless the EUBA that is provided for a person under subsection (1) is attached to the life preserver, individual flotation device or personal flotation device that is carried on board the helicopter for that person.

(3) No person shall operate a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight over Canadian waters that have a temperature of less than 10°C unless the EUBA that is provided for a person under subsection (1)

  • (a) is in a pocket or pouch that is part of the person’s helicopter passenger transportation suit system or helicopter crew member transportation suit system;
  • (b) is in a pouch that is worn with the person’s helicopter passenger transportation suit system or helicopter crew member transportation suit system; or
  • (c) is attached to the person’s helicopter passenger transportation suit system or helicopter crew member transportation suit system.

[602.67 to 602.69 reserved]

COMING INTO FORCE

5. These Regulations come into force 90 days after the day on which they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅱ.

[46-1-o]

  • Footnote a
    S.C. 1992, c. 4, s. 7
  • Footnote b
    S.C. 2004, c. 15, s. 18
  • Footnote c
    S.C. 2004, c. 15, s. 18
  • Footnote d
    R.S., c. A-2
  • Footnote 1
    Large helicopters such as the Sikorsky S-92 and the Eurocopter EC 225 are used globally for offshore oil, gas and resource support. They also provide search and rescue and MEDEVAC support for related operations and are the primary, and in many situations the only, viable tool for transportation during extreme weather periods, when emergency evacuation is necessary.
  • Footnote 2
    According to subsections (4) and (5) of section 602.63 of the CARs, “Life Rafts and Survival Equipment — Flights over Water,” helicopter types operating beyond 25 or 50 nautical miles from shore (depending on the model) must carry life rafts capable of carrying all aircraft occupants, in case of an emergency ditching.
  • Footnote 3
    There is a limited number of reporting stations offshore. Sea state is only observed and reported, and the forecast verified in the vicinity of the offshore destination.
  • Footnote 4
    SOR/96-433