Stornoway Coast­guard is fi­nal base to join na­tion­wide search and res­cue net­work

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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