The Japanese carrier Wakashio ran aground on a reef in Mauritius, the ship is of the Capesize category, the largest dry-cargo ships in the world and it carried a large amount of fuel in its tanks, a massive threat to the Island nations biosphere. Corail Hélicoptères, an aerial tour service which has a subsidiary in Mauritius swung into immediate action to provide support to the shipwreck for environment conservation.
Corail Helicopters had one Airbus H130, which has been set to return to its base in Reunion Island but couldn’t due to the borders being closed in the view of the pandemic. The H130 was flown by Jeremy Heuls, chief pilot of Corail Helicopters Mauritius to transport heavy equipment for the salvage efforts, the heaviest of which was 1.2 tons. Specially trained crew were also transported, which the helo did by landing on the ship’s helipad or doing skid touches on occasions when the conditions were unfavourable. The aerial support was aided by Airbus AS355NP dual-engine helicopter for three days from its base in Reunion Island before returning. fight the threat of pollution. “We had an H130 available, and help for three days from our AS355NP from Reunion Island. The Ecureuil then returned to its base and the H130 now remains the only aerial work helicopter being used at the site of the shipwreck.” said the chief pilot.
The Airbus H130 is designed for passenger and tourist flights, the fuselage was converted by removing the pilot door and adding a hook and sling at the bottom, the helicopter was more than ready to supplement the work force salvaging the shipwreck. The shipwreck was quite near to the coast and in the moderate weather, operations went hassle free. The Helo transported IBC tanks for transport of hazardous pollutants, scores of sorties each day, without having any vertical or lateral reference points for the pilot to use.
After more than 30 days of the H130 operating, with Jeremy piloting the craft for more than 90 hours the operation and intensity of the pollutant spill has been reduced. The airbus helicopter has transported more than 100 tonnes of equipment and removed more than 50 tonnes of crude oil from the shipwreck. Exceptional piloting skill of the man and unmatched build quality of the machine helped in successful aversion of a natural biosphere disaster. Corail Helicopters is proud to have such talented pilots and one of the best machines in the business which could be swung into action to protect the environment.
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