Royal Navy’s HMS Gannet handovers SAR operations to Bristow Helicopters

6 January 2016 (Last Updated January 6th, 2016 18:30)

HMS Gannet, a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm establishment based at RNAS Prestwick in Scotland, has handed over its search-and-rescue (SAR) operations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency contractor, Bristow Helicopters.

Gannet

HMS Gannet, a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm establishment based at RNAS Prestwick in Scotland, has handed over its search-and-rescue (SAR) operations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency contractor, Bristow Helicopters.

It had finished its lifesaving mission after serving for more than 40 years from Prestwick Airport.

The unit's SAR operation within the UK stretched from Ben Nevis in the north, south to the Isle of Man and Lake District, east to Edinburgh, west to Northern Ireland, and even a further 200 miles west of Ireland.

"It has been a great honour to command a unit that has helped save lives and which has made such an impact."

HMS Gannet lieutenant commander Charlie Fuller said: "It has been a great honour to command a unit that has helped save lives and which has made such an impact throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.

"We have consistently been one of the busiest search-and-rescue (SAR) units in the whole of the UK and the holder of the record number of SAR jobs in a year ever."

HMS Gannet recorded 447 rescues in 2009 and more than 300 rescues in 2015. It reportedly was the busiest unit in the UK from 2005 to 2010.

The Bristow Helicopter team at Prestwick will operate across Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.

Fuller said: "We have done our best to ensure the Bristow crews have the best start possible. In turn, their crews, who are mostly ex-military SAR crew, have paid us the tremendous honour of mounting our ship's crest in their crew room as recognition of our time and their heritage."


Image: A Royal Navy Sea King helicopters from HMS Gannet at Prestwick. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.