The destruction of the Coastguard – lies, damn lies, and statistics . . .

We have so much to see and do in these sceptred isles of ours and our coastlines are like treasures.  

IMAG0460Some are flawless gems, others are rough cut and then there are the downright dangerous ones. And looking after us and our safety is the wonderful front line Coastguard Service we have. The Service co-ordinates the rescues, searches and everything else to do with incidents in the seas surrounding us and the estuaries, tributaries and even on land. The men and women are highly skilled, experienced, hard working and respected, and have saved many thousands of people.

But far from being respected by everyone, for the last two years, the Coastguard has been badly betrayed by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and this government, in the form of the Department of Transport.In September 2011, I read an article, in The Independent, about pollution and the withdrawal of the four tugs that patrolled and protected the UK. I wrote about it on another blog of mine; the post was called SOS – Save Our Souls. It went on to state that Mike Penning, the then Shipping Minister, was also responsible for the potential closure of some of our Coastguard Stations. Eight of them were threatened, Brixham, Clyde, Forth, Liverpool, Portland, Swansea, Thames and Yarmouth.  Please read for background information of how this whole shabby fiasco started.This got me involved with the wonderful team at Coastguard SOS and I am, indeed, very proud to be one of the three founding members.  What has happened since then beggars belief really.You do need to know that Mike Penning stood up in Parliament and stated that not one Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre would close until a new HQ was completely operational and all communications systems were proven and up & running.  This is written into Westminster history. Yeah, right!

CLYDE-ribbon Forth Coastguard Yarmouth coastguard death

So far we have lost three Coastguard Stations; Clyde, Forth and Yarmouth. Not sure which one is next on the list, and all this ….. 

DESPITE . . . . .  
  • Concerns raised over two long and arduous sessions of gruelling questions by the House of Commons Transport Committee
  • Grave concerns from personnel at the MRCCs over the loss of local knowledge with all calls going into the HQ first
  • Huge concerns from the experienced and expert personnel over the extra time that each incident would take to get through
  • Serious concerns from MPs, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament over the loss of local knowledge and the vast expanses of unattended coast
  • Plummeting morale of the Coastguard members
  • Large numbers of personnel leaving the service
  • The undermanned stations now in operation
  • The huge cost of having to fly people to and from different stations to maintain a certain number of skilled operatives
  • The threat of industrial action over revised pay scales
  • Promises and assurances given, being broken
coastguard flares

The final salute at Clyde MRCC

What next?

Please go to CoastguardSOS

Read all the articles concerning this, the betrayals made, the promises broken.

Write to your MP please, we’re an island country – we need the local knowledge of our Coastguards at the front line by the sea, not in some landlocked HQ, where the MCA has already admitted that the new way could add ten minutes onto the time taken to respond!

 

 
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