Ulstein Group announced that it will donate approximately $3.4 million to Norwegian Sea Rescue (Redningsselskapet) to fund 60% of the cost of a high-speed search and rescue (SAR) boat.
The 20- meter SAR craft - to be delivered in 2015 - will be named RS Idar Ulstein in memory of Ulstein’s long-time CEO and Chairman of the Board who passed away in 2012. Once in service, the RS Ida Ulstein will play a role in ensuring the safety of seafarers and recreational users of Norway’s coastal waters as they become increasingly busy year-on-year. Norwegian Sea Rescue now performs 50 percent more rescue operations than it did a decade ago, and in 2012 the organization provided assistance on over 12,000 occasions.
Over the last ten years, Norwegian Sea Rescue has saved 350 lives and 1,000 people from shipwreck. Rikke Lind, Secretary General, Norwegian Sea Rescue, stated that to continue saving lives and assets, the organization relies on the contributions of individuals and companies. “We cannot do our job without donations such as these, so I hope Ulstein’s action inspires others in the community to contribute towards the remaining 40% of the cost of this vessel.”
Lind added that, due to the ever-increasing number of Norwegians using the seas for work and pleasure, modernizing Norwegian Sea Rescue’s fleet is essential. “When a life is at stake, every second counts. That’s why it is so important to upgrade our fleet with new, faster vessels, which will allow us to reach an incident anywhere in Norwegian waters within an hour. And without sufficient funding from the current government, we need the support of those in the maritime community.”
RS Idar Ulstein will add to Norwegian Sea Rescue’s 42-strong fleet of rescue vessels stationed around the Norwegian coastline. Although a decision has not yet been made, the vessel will most likely operate in northern Norway, where vessel speed is particularly important due to greater distances between rescue ships.
RS Idar Ulstein will be the first of a new class of rescue vessels, operated by a crew of three. It will primarily serve coastal, fishing and recreational vessels. As well as emergency lifesaving and rescue, the vessel will be designed to perform operations including towing, salvage, diving missions, fire, ambulance and medical transportation.
Short response time is essential to saving lives at sea and the RS Idar Ulstein therefore prioritizes speed over bollard pull, which is in line with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre’s guidelines. RS Idar Ulstein has twin engines, with an estimated top-speed of 38 knots. Its bollard pull will be approximately nine tons, which will cover most rescue situations, and the ship will be able to maintain a larger vessel that has lost engine power until heavier capacity arrives.
The vessel will be equipped with a modern navigation system, which is essential on rescue missions. It also has noise-reducing features to ensure the best possible working conditions for the crew.