Bristow, July 29, 2016 - 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.
Russell Torbet, newly appointed director of UK SAR, said: “Bristow’s heritage is steeped in search and rescue and our brave helicopter crews have delivered Coastguard SAR operations in the north of Scotland for a total of 27 years, from 1983 – 2007 and then again from 2013.
“Over the past three years our crews in Stornoway and Sumburgh have become a key part of both communities, and most importantly have delivered this lifesaving service to a huge number of people in the surrounding areas.
“We are extremely proud to be delivering this long running and vital service and we hope that the work of our crews has been of value to the communities they serve.”
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.”
Chief Pilot at Sumburgh, Stuart Cunliffe, said: "The past three years have seen us continuing to develop and improve the vital service that we provide to Shetland and its surrounds by actively training and liaising with the myriad of rescue services that support the Islands. As we transition to UK SAR, we look forward to continuing to develop this essential service and ensuring that we continue to provide the safest and most efficient service."
About HM Coastguard: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a frontline delivery and emergency response organisation which is part of the Department for Transport.
Part of the MCA is HM Coastguard, which provides a UK-wide maritime emergency prevention and response capability which responds to calls for help by radio, satellite or the 999 service and coordinates maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK SAR region. The agency helps approximately 25,000 people each year with 21,000 incidents coordinated by its rescue centres.
Bristow Search & Rescue: Bristow Helicopters Ltd is the leading provider of helicopter search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, having been awarded the UK SAR contract and the Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland.
Bristow Helicopters has a long history of providing world class SAR services in the UK, beginning in 1971. Bristow Helicopters has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters. We also currently deliver SAR operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Russia and Trinidad.
Bristow Helicopters Limited: Established by London born Alan Bristow, Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has served the offshore oil transport industry in the UK for nearly 60 years. The company is also the largest provider of helicopter services to the offshore energy industry in Australia and Nigeria, where it has operated for over 50 years.
Bristow has a long history in the helicopter services industry, starting with Bristow Helicopters Ltd. in the U.K. and Offshore Logistics, Inc. in the U.S., founded in 1955 and 1969 respectively. In 1996 Offshore Logistics purchased a stake in Bristow Helicopters Ltd, and the company was rebranded as Bristow Group Inc. in 2006. UK-based Bristow Helicopters Ltd. is an affiliated company of Bristow Group Inc.