Offshore oil rigs--many in remote locations--can fall prey to fires, explosions and foul weather--often with little warning.
SV PAN Two rescue capsules on rig
CU Alarm bell (2 shots)
SV Men entering capsule
CU Engine being started
SV Capsule released and descends
CU Man looking out of window
SV Capsule released and sail away (3 shots)
GV Kerosene flames surrounding capsule in test (2 shots)
SV Firemen extinguishing flames around blackened capsule (2 shots)
CU Burnt-out capsule
GV PAN Observers TO charreo capsule
Initials CL/2345 CL/2358
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Offshore oil rigs--many in remote locations--can fall prey to fires, explosions and foul weather--often with little warning. This has highlighted the need for safe, fast methods of abandoning rigs with minimum danger for the crews.
A United States' company is San Diego, California, has come up with a survival system which they say will sustain life in the most testing conditions.
The system is based on a fibreglass, fireproof unsinkable capsule which will hold 28 men.
Once they are inside a handle releases the capsule which is lowered into the sea at two feet (30.5 cm) a second--without power. When it hits the water a small diesel engine gives the craft a speed of five knots.
If the rig is on fire the capsule can be sealed off. It has an oxygen regeneration system which keeps the air breathable for an hour--long enough for the capsule to move out of the burning area.
The manufactures are o confident of their product they recently tested a capsule in a water-filled pool soaked with kerosene. Safety representatives from the American, British Australian, Norwegian and Canadian Governments were present.
The capsule was subjected to two kerosene fires of more than five minutes each. Although the outside was blackened after the fires were extinguished, testes showed that temperature and air condition inside would have allowed any occupants to survive.