Oil company's high-tech boat used in anger

An oil giant’s own version of an RNLI lifeboat played a crucial role in rescuing 15 rig workers from the sea after their helicopter ditched.

BP’s rescue boat was on its first mission. It picked up 15 of the 18 people who ended up in the water after a Super Puma came down on Wednesday evening.

The designers now hope other offshore oil companies and coastguard rescue teams will consider using the ARRC craft which has a maximum speed of 35 knots, fly-by-wire technology on the bridge, a helicopter winching zone, a collapsible side at the back to pull survivors aboard and two 1100 hp jets to power it.

The boats form part of Project Jigsaw, a £135m programme of investment by BP aimed at creating an improved regional search, rescue and recovery network in the North Sea.