Jubilant scenes as HMS Montrose returns

There were emotional scenes at Devonport docks earlier today as families welcomed home their loved ones from a six month deployment.

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New rescue helicopters 'will reach larger area of UK'

The Department for Transport has said that under the new contract helicopters will be able to reach a larger area of the UK Search and Rescue region within an hour of take-off than is currently possible.

An RAF Sea King helicopter that will no longer be used under the new contract. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

It added that, based on historic incident data, it is estimated there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20 percent (from 23 to 19 minutes).

Presently, approximately 70 percent of high and very high-risk areas within the UK SAR region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85 percent of the same area would be reached within this time frame.

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Background to Search and Rescue privatisation

A Sea King helicopter
A Sea King helicopter Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The plans to privatise search and rescue helicopters were laid originally out by the Labour government in 2006.

The plans were controversial, and designed to replace the ageing Sea Kings that were currently in use.

Soteria SAR was announced as the frontrunning bidder in February 2010, but a year later it was prevented from acquiring the contract due to several issues with the conduct of their bid team, as well as forming part of the coalition government's spending review.

National

Govt to announce sell-off of Search and Rescue service

by - Deputy Political Editor

The government is set to announce that Britain's Search and Rescue service is to be sold off to an American firm.

Up until now, the operation has been run by the RAF, Navy and Coastguard Agency.

The firm will actually be awarded two contracts, because the service has been separated into two parts operating different types of helicopter.

An announcement is expected just before the stock market opens in the morning.

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HMS Enterprise starts nine month deployment

HMS Enterprise has sailed from the South West to the Middle East for nine months on operations. The Plymouth-based Royal Naval survey ship will be deployed protecting the nation’s interests and contributing to the safety of military and civilian shipping.

HMS Enterprise sails from Falmouth on nine month deployment Credit: ITV Westcountry

The ship sailed from Falmouth with a new survey motor boat called Spitfire. The nine-metre boat doubles the mother ship’s ability to collect data. The ship has been in the Cornish port for the last month conducting work on the davit used to lift the boat in and out of the water.

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