Norwegian Government commits to rescue helicopter base at Tromso by 2022

Norwegian Government commits to rescue helicopter base at Tromso by 2022 10 Oct, 19, Source: Norwegian Government

[electronic translation]

The government gives priority to strengthening emergency preparedness in the north, and proposes to establish a new rescue helicopter base in Tromsø and establish HF coverage in the northern marine areas up to the North Pole.

– We aim to launch the new rescue helicopter base in 2022. We will soon launch a tender competition in connection with the establishment of the new rescue helicopter base, says Social Security Minister Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde.

– With the phasing in of new rescue helicopters at the bases in Bodø and Banak, in addition to coastguard helicopters, the seventh base in Tromsø will provide a significantly strengthened helicopter capacity in the north, says the Minister of Social Security.

The new rescue helicopters will have far better range, greater speed and better ability to operate in bad weather than today’s Sea King machine. The Norwegian rescue service will therefore receive a significant boost – both over sea and land.

The Armed Forces Bell 412 helicopter stands at Bardufoss today with one hour of police standby. To ensure that this preparedness is safeguarded in Northern Norway when the Bell 412 helicopters are assembled at Rygge, the government proposes to implement a temporary solution for the police preparedness in Northern Norway through the hiring of civilian helicopters. The government is proposing to increase the allocation to the police by NOK 50 million in 2020 to operate the new solution. In addition, the government proposes to transfer NOK 11 million from the Ministry of Defense budget for the purpose. It is proposed that the new rescue helicopter base in Tromsø is also planned to meet the special needs of the police, and that this includes today’s one-hour emergency.

Tromsø the best option

– Tromsø stands out as the clear best choice for base location in the Troms area. This is not least due to the fact that it is easier to draw on other emergency resources in the area such as rescue divers, fire preparedness at sea, Alpine rescue group, Norwegian rescue dogs, police emergency response group and medical infrastructure. This is crucial in critical situations where time is an important factor, says the Minister of Social Security.

HF coverage in the northern areas

– Preserving our rescue responsibility and having adequate preparedness in Norwegian marine areas is a priority task for the government. We therefore propose to establish HF coverage in the northern marine areas up to the North Pole to safeguard emergency communications for shipping in these areas, says Social Security Minister Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde.

When coverage is in place, HRS and coastal radio stations will be able to have two-way voice communication with emergency and rescue resources in the area, which is crucial for effective rescue efforts.

– Effective communication helps save lives. The incident at Hinlopen on Svalbard Christmas last year, when a fishing boat crashed, showed that emergency communication in these areas is a major challenge. The government will do something about this, says the Minister of Social Security.

Expanded HF coverage in the northern areas is a measure that will provide safer traffic for ships from all nations. HF coverage may also be relatively quickly in place. Furthermore, the technology is well known, has been in use for many years, and anyone traveling in these sea areas should already have such equipment on board.

– As soon as HF coverage is established, emergency preparedness in these demanding areas will have received an important boost, says the Minister of Social Security.

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