Stornoway Coastguard is final base to join nationwide search and rescue network
THE official transfer of Stornoway’s Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base has taken place.
It becomes the 10th and final base to enter the nationwide Coastguard SAR helicopter network operated by Bristow Helicopters on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
For the past four years the Stornoway base has been part of the Gap SAR contract, awarded to Bristow in 2012.
Stornoway and its island sister base at Sumburgh, Shetland, which joined UK SAR in April 2017, provide cover over land and sea radiuses of 250 miles.
Stornoway SAR was established 30 years ago and provides vital life-saving support to the fishing and other marine industries, as well as to land-based incidents, including missing persons and other medical emergencies.
Chief pilot, Captain Ben Clarke, said: ‘This is a landmark year for Stornoway – celebrating our 30th anniversary, and now formally joining our colleagues as part of the UK’s overarching strategic search and rescue response team provided within the UKSAR contract.’
He added: ‘My teams’ focus is always on bringing people home safely from a SAR operation, being dedicated to year-round training and living up to the incredibly high standard that the UK’s search and rescue service has been renowned for delivering for more than 70 years, from both military and civilian operations.
‘Stornoway may be seen as a remote setting in the eyes of many people – but we are absolutely vital for that reason, as the provision of helicopter support to people living and working in and around the islands, is all the more important due to the location.’
Stornoway is the 10th and final base to enter the nationwide Coastguard SAR helicopter network.