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Quality Safety Equipment Must Be Accompany by Right Training

Alfredo Sierra Luna - Duncan y Cossio
Director General


Wed, 01/21/2015 - 14:30

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Q: What trends for the use of your safety equipment stood out in the Mexican oil and gas sector over the last year?

A: Two of our lines are among the most popular kinds of equipment that are essential for maritime safety: liferafts that are used on oil rigs and on the vessels that assist them, and lifeboats that are placed on the platforms. Between these, the rafts are the most in demand. We also provide safety inspections to assess the different positions where our equipment has been placed. However, our line of life-saving equipment also includes life jackets, which are evidently in high demand. In terms of new trends, the arrival of foreign operators in the coming months is eagerly awaited. We now have to investigate and find out which companies are coming in order to anticipate their needs and serve them with our international and well-recognized brands. We want to send these companies the message that they can rely on us and that we have always been at the forefront of safety equipment. We have discussed this matter directly with Harding regarding the lifeboats and with Survitec Group regarding the liferafts. It is in our common interest to stay ahead of the game and continue to offer our full support to PEMEX while also meeting the needs of new operators in the Mexican market.

Q: How are your liferafts and lifeboats deployed in emergency situations on offshore platforms?

A: We handle two types of lifeboats: those lowered by winches and those that freefall. According to the needs of a particular platform, companies can opt to use either one in shallow and deepwater fields. As for the liferafts, they are extremely flexible and can adapt to any type of requirement, depending on the number of persons working on the platform or ship. The efficiency of our lifeboats was also tested during the fire that broke out at PEMEX’s Abkatun-A Permanente platform in April 2015. Two of our Harding lifeboats were used for emergency evacuation of the staff. Workers were able to leave the platform without any problems, as the equipment was in perfect working condition.

Q: What is the relative importance of training and having the latest safety equipment in minimizing fatalities?

A: We have pushed PEMEX to be very up-to-date with these issues by making their people aware of the importance of staff training to ensure safety. Very often, oil companies do have the latest equipment, whether from our brands or not. However, even if the lifeboats and liferafts are modern, it can happen that these companies have not given their people sufficient training on safety requirements or how to operate the equipment. Having well-trained people obviously helps to save lives. In response, Duncan y Cossio is offering precisely this new service. We can properly train PEMEX workers to handle safety at sea, whether they are on ships or platforms. We have very innovative systems at our facility in Ciudad del Carmen, including the latest simulators, where we are offering these training courses.

Q: Why does Duncan y Cossio work with Survitec Group and Harding as opposed to their competitors?

A: Harding is a Norwegian company that has always been at the forefront of innovation in life-saving equipment in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Survitec Group mainly distributes its liferafts in Europe and the US. Both companies are recognized for their many years of success saving lives in the most demanding markets worldwide. This quality is backed up by Duncan y Cossio having the best-equipped repair station in Ciudad del Carmen with the best technicians. Our technicians are certified by the manufacturers and by the General Directorate for Merchant Shipping, which makes us the most innovative company in Mexico in terms of our safety and quality systems.

Q: Which arguments can stop operators from reducing their investment in safety equipment in the current low oil price environment?

A: The safety of their staff should be something that companies never have to think about saving money on. A life is priceless. In response to the current environment we are trying to reduce our prices. We are working with our manufacturers on systems that can translate into big savings for PEMEX. The new equipment that we want to introduce, such as davits and winches, does not need regular maintenance, meaning that costs can be greatly reduced for the oil company. Our strategy is to stay ahead in terms of quality and offer the best prices to satisfy our customers and our ambition is to grow rapidly upon the arrival of new operators following Round One.

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