North Sea search helicopters get £60m oil and gas pledge

Bristow search and rescue helicopter

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North Sea oil and gas operators have committed £60m to fund a search and rescue helicopter service.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said the service would be operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters.

It will supplement the new UK-wide search and rescue service which will be launched next month by the Department for Transport.

Oil and Gas UK said the service would provide rescue and recovery and medevac cover for offshore workers.

It will replace the Jigsaw search and rescue helicopter service which has been providing additional rescue and response cover from the Central North Sea from the BP Miller platform.

That service is ending because the platform is being decommissioned.

'World-class support'

The £60m contract will deliver the service out of Aberdeen for five years.

Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said: "Jigsaw has been an excellent service that has benefited many in the Central North Sea over the years.

"However the removal of the Miller platform means that service was not sustainable.

"This industry-funded search and rescue helicopter service will maintain the rescue and recovery capability we demand for our offshore workforce."

Steve Griffiths, managing director of Bond Offshore Helicopters, added: "Our search and rescue teams have been providing a life-saving service with specialist helicopters for almost a decade.

"Today's announcement ensures the men and women working offshore in the Central North Sea will continue to receive world-class search and rescue support."

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