asked the Secretary of State for Transport what emergency helicopter cover is available for offshore production platforms, semi-submersible rigs and safety vessels in the event of accident.
There are presently 12 helicopter bases around the United Kingdom declared for search and rescue which are available for accidents involving offshore oil platforms and support craft. There are nine at RAF bases at Lossiemouth, Leuchars, Boulmer, Leconfield, Coltishall, Manston, Chivenor, Brawdy and Valley; two at RN bases at Lee-on-Solent and Culdrose and one civil helicopter at Sumburgh, Shetland Isles, on contract to the Department of Transport. One further civil contract helicopter is soon to be provided for north west Scotland. Three SAR helicopter flights are also maintained by oil companies on the North sea fields as part of their commitment to the safety of their installations, personnel and support craft.In addition, there are RN anti-submarine Sea King helicopters at Culdross and Prestwick, United States air force long-range helicopters at Woodbridge, Suffolk and other aircraft which may be made available for SAR operations. Support can also be expected from foreign SAR helicopter resources in Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium and the Irish Republic.