Vol. 149, No. 8 — April 22, 2015
SOR/2015-84 April 1, 2015
Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I and VI — Offshore Operations)
P.C. 2015-408 April 1, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, 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), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I and VI — Offshore Operations).
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CANADIAN AVIATION REGULATIONS (PARTS I AND VI — OFFSHORE OPERATIONS)
1. Subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (see footnote 1) 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)”:
Maximum Amount of Penalty ($)
3. (1) Paragraphs 602.63(7)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:
- (a) a helicopter passenger transportation suit system that conforms to paragraph 551.407(c) of the Airworthiness Manual 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 (1) Subject to section 602.65, no person shall dispatch or conduct a take-off in a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight if, during the pre-flight check required under section 602.71 or the weather check required under section 602.72, the pilot-in-command or the air operator is aware that the sea state at any point along the planned route exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified, as part of its type design, to conduct a ditching.
(2) An air operator who uses a helicopter to conduct an offshore operations flight shall notify the pilot-in-command if, at take-off or during the flight, the air operator is or becomes aware that the sea state at any point along the planned route between the position of the helicopter and the destination exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified, as part of its type design, to conduct a ditching.
(3) If the pilot-in-command of a helicopter who is conducting an offshore operations flight is or becomes aware that the sea state at any point along the planned route between the position of the helicopter and the destination exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified, as part of its type design, to conduct a ditching, the pilot-in-command shall, subject to section 602.65, proceed directly to a land base.
602.65 Subsections 602.64(1) and (3) do not apply in respect of an offshore operations flight conducted for the purpose of responding to an emergency.
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.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
On March 12, 2009, a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter 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 released its Accident Investigation Report (A09A0016) in February 2011 and made four recommendations. Two of the recommendations were directly addressed to Transport Canada (TC): (1) that TC prohibit commercial operation of Category A transport helicopters over water when the sea state will not permit safe ditching and successful evacuation; and (2) 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 related to natural resources extraction and/or exploration. However, it is expected that renewed interest in Arctic resource exploration, and the effects of climate change (resulting in longer available drilling seasons), will result in new oil and gas exploration activity in the North.
The C-NLOPB and the C-NSOPB have already supported the use of emergency underwater breathing apparatus (i.e. a breathing system delivering compressed air carried by each person on board). However, there are no provincial or federal regulatory obligations for helicopter operators to stop a flight due to sea state conditions or to have EUBAs for each person on board the aircraft. Currently, helicopter operators voluntarily incorporate the use of the EUBA in their flight operations. In order to ensure that there is a consistent level of safety measures in place across the provinces and territories, particularly if offshore operations continue to develop in the North, federal regulations addressing these issues are needed.
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 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.
The objectives of these 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 amendments will also eliminate the risks associated with requiring crew members to wear survival suits inappropriate to their duties.
These amendments will
- introduce a definition of “offshore operations flight” and of “emergency underwater breathing apparatus (EUBA);”
- require the carrying of EUBAs 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 a 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 crew member transportation suit (one of the main differences between the two suits is the fact that the crew transportation suit system has a different thermal insulation than the passenger suit system);
- introduce a requirement that helicopters cannot be used for the conduct of offshore operations when the sea state reported or forecast prior to departure along the planned flight route, or reported at the destination, exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is 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;
- introduce a requirement that the pilot-in-command shall proceed directly to a land base if the sea state, at any point along the planned route, exceeds the sea state for which the helicopter is certified; and
- incorporate by reference the Helicopter Passenger Transportation Suit System (HPTSS) standards into section 602.63 of the CARs via the Airworthiness Manual (AWM).
In August 2011, a focus group composed of representatives from the federal government and industry (i.e. Cougar Helicopters Inc., CHC Helicopter Operations, 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 two of the four TSB recommendations made in the TSB’s Accident Investigation Report.
Different policy instruments (i.e. the 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.
The proposed amendments were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on November 16, 2013, followed by a 30-day comment period. TC received two written comments, one from CAPP —Atlantic Canada and one from the C-NLOPB.
CAPP — Atlantic Canada proposed that the Regulations be amended to make reference to the HPTSS standards, which were prepared by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), and approved by the Standards Council of Canada in April 2012. The HPTSS certification standard was developed in Canada in response to the March 12, 2009, offshore helicopter accident. This new 2012 HPTSS standard makes improvements to older HPTSS standards that are no longer considered adequate for the Canadian environment (e.g. cold waters). In response to CAPP — Atlantic Canada, Transport Canada has revised the Regulations to incorporate by reference in section 602.63 of the CARs the AWM, which will reference the new HPTSS standard.
For the purposes of determining a safe sea state for normal offshore helicopter operations, C-NLOPB suggested that determining wave height along the planned flight route (i.e. not just the wave height at the helicopter destination) should now be taken into consideration, and accordingly, also prescribed in the Regulations — given that newly developed technology (e.g. height-finding [HF]radar) can now offer this determination. The ability to measure wave height helps helicopter transport operators to avoid sea states that exceed the certified limits of emergency floatation systems (EFS).
It should be noted that this sea state restriction only applies to normal passenger helicopter transportation flights. Emergency flights remain unaffected, and may be undertaken where the operator and crew deem it necessary. TC has revised the amendments to the Regulations (under section 602.64 of the CARs) that were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on November 16, 2013, to now include a “go-no-go” decision based not only at destination, but also based on reported or forecast sea states along the planned flight route.
These amendments to the CARs serve to reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a helicopter ditching, and should a ditching occur, to reduce the risk of drowning inside the helicopter, and death due to hyperthermia once outside of the helicopter. These amendments will also foster consistent national standards for current and new entrants to the offshore flight operations sector.
ICAO Annex 6, Part III — International Operations – Helicopters states that “all helicopters on flights over water in a hostile environment shall be certificated for ditching. Sea state shall be an integral part of ditching information.” Based on the findings of the aforementioned focus group, TC concluded that monitoring and reporting sea states, which have been utilized internationally to mitigate the risks associated with helicopter offshore operations flights on moderate to high seas, would best address the TSB’s recommendation regarding sea state and would harmonize Canadian regulation with international standards.
Although 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. Based on the findings of the focus group, TC 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 amendments will not create incremental costs for current operators, as the two Canadian companies (i.e. Cougar Helicopters and CHC Helicopter Operations) operating helicopters offshore are already in compliance.
The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply, as there are no compliance costs or administrative burden being imposed on small business as a result of the amendments to the CARs.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
These amendments will be enforced through the assessment of administrative 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.
Regulatory Affairs (AARBH)
Safety and Security Group
Department of Transport
Place de Ville, Tower C
Telephone (general inquiries): 613-993-7284 or 1-800-305-2059
Web site: www.tc.gc.ca