Marine Rescue stations cut from 18 down to 3
Boating Businesss December 13 eNews outlined likely Maritime Rescue Centre reductions under government spending cuts. On December 16, Shipping Minister Mike Penning told parliament he wants to cut from 18 to just 3 stations. Mr Penning is proposing two nationally networked Maritime Operation Centres, located at Aberdeen and the Southampton/Portsmouth area. Together with a 24 hour centre at Dover overlooking the Channel Traffic Separation Scheme, they would be capable of managing maritime incidents wherever and whenever they occur. There would be five other sub0centres, fully integrated into the national network and operating during daylight hours.
This network would provide jobs for Coastguards, with the job weight and pay reflecting the increased demands placed upon them in line with Civil Service pay guidelines. The leadership support provided to volunteer Coastguards in the Coastguard Rescue Service would also be strengthened and present levels of service to the public would be improved while reducing costs. Boating Business (BB) spoke to Howard Pridding, executive director of the British Marine Federation (BMF) about Mr Pennings proposals and he told BB it was vital that existing levels of service must be maintained.
Its 40 years since the coastguard service was reviewed and technology has moved on a long way since then, said Mr Pridding. Well play a major role in the consultation to ensure that levels of service dont deteriorate.