Predicting the unpredictable:
Providing safety and security for energy travellers in Africa and the Middle East
A robust duty of care programme is mission critical to those operating in the energy sectors.
For organisations whose business requires travel to Africa and the Middle East, ensuring the safety and security of travellers goes far beyond mitigating against delayed flights or extreme weather.
“When people think of duty of care in relation to crew travel, they think about flights or hotels in isolation, but operations begin as soon as travellers step outside of their door to embark on their journey,”
explains Pam Kitching, Managing Director of ATPI in Africa.
Given the remote and varying locations that crew are required to travel to in the energy sector, ensuring their safety is complex and can never be taken for granted; “Everything must be monitored and planned for ahead of time. In some locations leaving crew to their own devices just isn’t an option.”
What are the main challenges involved in transporting crew safely from rig to door?
“Safety and security issues are quite difficult to predict ahead of time,” shares Pam. “Political climates and volatile situations can change in second and new threats can escalate very quickly, so remaining vigilant and informed is a real priority.”
“For example, carrying cash presents a challenge when moving crew on the ground, as this can obviously make them a target for gang crime in some parts of Africa,” says Pam. “Transferring cash electronically also isn’t as straight forward as it sounds, as reliable connectivity can be a problem in Africa and 90% of transactions and communications are made via cellphones.”
Pam acknowledges that security threats vary depending on location, as most are influenced by the political climate of a country. “In Nigeria, for example, there is a national problem with gang culture and so travellers sometimes require a police escort. In the event of an accident, finding adequate medical care can be difficult in some areas of Africa, so this also needs to be taken into account when planning travel,” Pam explains.
Most recently, in the Middle East, we have seen attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Of course, this presents increased risk to our energy clients and is something that our on-the-ground teams can monitor and update in real time.
“There are also limited airlines servicing certain countries, many of which are actually banned by the EU,” Pam tells. “This is often at odds with an organisation’s travel policy and so this also needs to be considered and provided for by travel policies – if not, travellers can wait two or three days for an approved flight, wasting valuable time and resource.”
“The world feels as though it has gotten smaller in the last decade or so, and there are very few places that we can’t get to, but it’s easy to forget about the security problems that are specific to certain countries if you’re not experienced in booking and managing travel for energy organisations,” Pam warns. “As a TMC, our goal is to get everyone where they need to be, and back again, safely.”
“We provide our clients with advice regarding their approach to duty of care, which has become somewhat of a hot topic within the energy sector in recent years, and offer them access to technology such as traveller tracking services to give them peace of mind.”
“Our complete crew travel service, Door to Deck, was actually tested in Africa, where it came up against some incredibly challenging security issues,” Pam reveals. “We work closely with ISOS and Control Risk in order to provide clients with the most up-to-date and comprehensive security information.”
To energy organisations looking to enhance their approach to safety and security for their crew, Pam recommends paying attention to pre-trip reporting; “Pre-trip reporting is one of the most important things to do when trying to ensure safe travel for crew. It ensures that everyone is aware of any security risks or updates to volatile situations, meaning this can be mitigated and planned for accordingly. Situations develop and incidents happen, but being as prepared for them as possible is the best way to mitigate their effects.”
Put your duty of care programme to the test by:
- Reviewing your duty of care practices regularly to ensure that they are in line with the latest legislation, as well as being conducive to how your organisation actually travels
- Building pre-trip reporting into your travel management programme in order to stay fully informed before a crew rotation begins
- Assessing any technology you use to monitor travellers throughout their journey. Does this provide you with live updates? Does this allow those onshore to communicate with staff as they travel?
- Ensuring that any emergency response plans have been thoroughly tested, reviewed and updated
ATPI’s duty of care solutions
ATPI Traveller Tracking System™ - ATPI Traveller Tracking System™ keeps both on and off shore personnel informed before, during and after every trip, by providing a real-time view of travel risks, traveller whereabouts and emergency incidents.
ATPI Alerts™- ATPI Alerts™ gives your organisation all of the information you need in order to be proactive in your travel management, enabling you to react quickly to unexpected travel crises for optimal efficiency.
ATPI On The Go™ - Mobile itineraries, passport and visa details, emergency contact numbers for services across the globe and real-time travel status updates, ATPI On The Go™ equips your personnel with everything they need to get to where they’re needed, ready to focus on what they need to do.
24/7 support- Around the clock and around the world, our energy travel specialists are always available to provide support and advice. Managed in-house to ensure consistency across the globe, ATPI Marine & Energy’s support team are dedicated to finding a travel solution that works for your organisation.