27/01/2011

Proposed Clyde Coastguard Closure

At the AGM on 21st Feb a vote was taken and an overwhelming majority of those attending agreed on the motion that the proposal to close local coastguard centres was a regressive step. The Commodore then agreed that the Club should issue its own protest on the issue. 
However it should also be noted that  the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have announced a series of public meetings concerning the proposed Coastguard modernisation programme
The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for the local communities around the existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) to hear more about the proposals, ask questions of MCA representatives and have the opportunity to express their views. Each meeting will be independently chaired and will begin at 7:30pm, expecting to draw to a close by 9pm.

Attending such a meeting may be an effective way to register dissatisfaction with the proposals and our local Clyde meeting will be on  Wednesday 2 March 2011, Port Glasgow Town Hall, 35 King Street, Port Glasgow.
 



The Government has recently produced a paper containing proposals to modernise the Coastguard service around the country to bring it into the 21st Century. They are proposing closing 10 out of the 18 existing Coastguard stations, including the bases on the Clyde and Forth and considerably reducing the numbers of Coastguards employed. In future Scotland will be managed through one main control centre at Aberdeen with a sub centre at Stornoway or Shetland which will be a daylight hours only station. The closure of the Clyde Maritime Co-ordination Rescue Centre is planned for 2012/13.
The Club has received a letter from the Clyde Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre saying that they consider the proposal to be seriously flawed.
They identify the following concerns:
Loss of local knowledge and expertise would delay response times
Reliance on two main centres places pressure on the other if there is a technical breakdown at one of them. The present system has more capacity to cope with such a situation.
The higher dependence on IT rather than local centres staffed by people with local knowledge, increases risk and reduces capacity in the system in times of stress
Why close the busiest station in Scotland at a time when the west coast is becoming busier with yachts, merchant shipping and cruise liners.

They close the letter by saying that they feel that this is a cost saving exercise which will have an impact on the mariner and the coastal user on the west coast of Scotland and urge us to make our concerns known.

:Read the full proposal here

If you wish to respond to the paper click here

The consultation period ends at 5pm on the 24th March 2011. If anyone would like to see the full version of the letter from the Clyde Maritime and Rescue Centre, let me know and I’ll send them a copy. However I would urge you, if you feel strongly about this proposal, to make your views known.

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