Sunday, 8 July 2012

Coastguard lunacy

Last week Clyde coastguard attended two emergencies at Largs, one of which involved rescuing a man from the water at the pier.   The Marine Rescue services are a vital component of safety on the Clyde and on the West Coast of Scotland.

Last September I attended a meeting in Greenock, hosted by Inverclyde Council, at which it was revealed that the coalition Government had plans to close the Marine Rescue Centre at Greenock and transfer the workload to Belfast and Stornoway. To be honest it sounded daft to me. Greenock handles much more traffic and twice as many calls as these two stations put together. Belfast is smaller, with no plans to increase manpower, and it lacks the vital local knowledge of Clyde and Western waters built up over many years by the Greenock staff. Belfast also operates on the Irish mapping system, which is different from UK mapping and charting standards.

Despite protests from all the affected Councils and the trades unions, it has recently been confirmed that operational control of the service provided at the Greenock site will close in December 2012.

It seems to me that safety on the Clyde is being sacrificed to a hasty and cost-driven decision by UK Ministers, and that this decision must be overturned.

Katy Clark MP has a good article here on the issue and the PCS union has a campaign called Coastguard SOS. Please visit and support this campaign. 

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