An increasing awareness of greater safety in marine personnel transfer has led to record demand for the FROG and TORO crew transfer devices from recognised expert in the field, Reflex Marine.

Last year’s Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, which resulted in the grounding of several helicopter flights to North Sea oil and gas platforms, led to a significant upturn in activity as numerous operators sought to plan contingencies to move crews by vessels in order to keep their operations going.

The movement of a further ash cloud from Iceland last week has led once again to an increase in inquiries to the company, which is based in Aberdeen and Truro, Cornwall.

The FROG and TORO are now used in all the world’s major oil producing regions including Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, the Former Soviet Union and the Gulf of Mexico. A total of 524 have been sold by Reflex Marine worldwide.

The devices, which have set the industry standard in marine transfer, account for more than 1,000,000 crew transfers each year and the number is ever-increasing.

In order to satisfy anticipated demand, Reflex Marine is to maintain a fleet of devices in stock worldwide.

An increase in awareness among operators of the various options and advances in personnel transfer has created an increase in acceptance of crane transfers as both a first line and contingency option for moving personnel offshore.

Reflex Marine managing director Philip Strong, said: “The grounding of helicopters last year because of the volcanic ash cloud did lead to an increase in activity for us and, although many companies will have been better prepared this time round, we have seen an increase in inquiries once again.

“The avoidance of risk is now recognised as a major issue within the oil and gas and renewable industries, and the FROG and TORO answer many of the questions posed by those seeking a very low risk alternative to helicopter based transfer.

“The rising demand for these products is a good indication of the growing acceptance of crane transfer as a safe and viable transportation method. Increased safety for crews and a reduction in the risks associated with transfers has to be welcomed by us all.”