Russian Military Disrupts Offshore Helo Ops in Norway

 - February 8, 2008, 6:23 AM

Helicopter traffic around the Statfjord and Gullfaks offshore oil fields in Norway was disrupted on December 11 by the incursion of the Russian carrier/cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, along with two Udaloy-class cruisers. About 14 helicopters carrying oil workers had to scrub their flights because of Sukhoi Su-33 fighter activity in the air. According to local operators, the Russian military aircraft did not follow agreed notification and communications procedures, and Russian communication blocked all emergency frequencies. A small coast guard vessel contacted the military ships, which then ceased air operations. The Norwegian government protested through its Moscow embassy, and the Russians apologized. The Norwegian CAA said that it supported helicopter operators’ decision to suspend flying.