By Edgar Brandt
ORANJEMUND – DebMarine Namibia, through its ship-to-shore transporter, Court Helicopters Namibia (CHN), yesterday introduced the first Sikorsky S76D helicopter on the African continent.
The helicopter, built by Connecticut-based Sirkorsky helicopters in the United States of America, is the latest in the range of offshore aircraft that offers remarkably improved state-of-the-art technology and all-weather stability that have evolved from 800 previous Sikorsky models.
Sikorsky helicopters are used by all five branches of the United States armed forces, along with military services and commercial operators in 40 nations around the world.
Court Namibia’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Steynberg, explained the aircraft was acquired through a five-year lease agreement with Milestone Aviation, at a cost of approximately US$15.5 million (about N$176.7 million).
“Court Helicopters Namibia ensures that it remains on the forefront of aviation technology when providing this helicopter service to our client,” said Steynberg during a ceremony at the Oranjemund Airport yesterday morning.
CHN consists of the South African-based Titan Group (75 percent) and a local group called Cordellia Investments.
Steynberg remarked that being part of an international group enables the CHN workforce to rely on the best support from management specialists and resources in the field of offshore operations that subscribe to a policy of continuous improvement. Welcome to the Titan Helicopter Group
The Titan Helicopter Group (THG) was started in 1993 and is involved with worldwide helicopter operations, providing tailor-made solutions to customers’ requirements, with particular emphasis on safety and efficiency on each flight.
The group’s international footprint includes operations in countries such as Malaysia, Sudan, Mozambique, Angola, India, Antarctica, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and the Ivory Coast.
Steynberg noted that CHN’s staff consists of approximately 55 percent Namibians and 15 percent resident Namibians, both in Oranjemund and in Windhoek.
Also at the event, DebMarine Namibia’s Logistics Manager, Nangula Taapopi, who is charged with the mammoth task of safely transporting workers from the mining town of Oranjemund to offshore mining vessels in the cold Atlantic Ocean, expressed appreciation to Court Helicopters Namibia for many years of excellent working relations.
“Our people are our greatest asset so their safety is our first priority,” said Taapopi.
The manufacturers of the new helicopter, Sikorsky, has developed four generations of maritime helicopters, including the Seahawk, Super Stallion and Sea King helicopters that support maritime operations of navies internationally.
Sikorsky has also designed and built nearly half of all such helicopters currently serving with armed forces throughout the world. Sikorsky helicopters have saved an estimated 2 million lives since performing the world’s first helicopter rescue in 1944.