Bristow Helicopters Limited has reached the third anniversary of delivering the Gap SAR search and rescue contract from Sumburgh and Stornoway on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Bristow, which has a 45 year history of delivering search and rescue services in the UK, took over running the HM Coastguard service at Sumburgh on 1 June 2013 and at Stornoway on 1 July 2013.
The Northern Scottish bases have carried out over 900 missions in the past three years of operation, with both Sumburgh and Stornoway responding to a similar number of taskings.
In 2013 Bristow won the UK Government national contract to deliver SAR operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Seven of 10 strategically located bases have taken over the helicopter SAR responsibility from the military in a phased approach throughout 2015 and 2016. The remaining three, including the existing Coastguard bases in Sumburgh and Stornoway, are set to become part of the new contract in 2017.
To deliver the contract Bristow introduced four state of the art Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, two at each base, with a radius of over 250 nautical miles and equipped with the latest SAR technology including night vision, mission management and increased on-board medical capabilities. Chief Pilot at Stornoway, Ben Clarke, said: “It has been a great privilege to have been involved in the Gap SAR service from the start, and to have worked with such a dedicated team serving in some of the most remote communities and challenging weather conditions in the country.”