The service will be operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters and will ensure existing rescue and recovery standards are maintained in a 160-mile radius in the central North Sea from Aberdeen airport.
The launch next month of a new UK-wide search and rescue service by the Department for Transport coincides with decommissioning plans for BP Miller platform, where the Jigsaw helicopter – which has provided additional rescue and response cover to the Central North Sea on a good will basis – has been based.
An Oil & Gas UK spokesman explained: “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.
“Furthermore changes to national search-and-rescue service mean that the two-hour time set down by industry for rescue and recovery cannot be guaranteed in certain parts of the Central North Sea.
“Accordingly, the operators of various fields in the Central North Sea worked together and with Oil & Gas UK to find a solution. This industry-funded search and rescue helicopter service will maintain the rescue and recovery capability we demand for our offshore workforce.”