For those of you who are on Twitter, my name there is
@lynnerosie and tomorrow I’m honoured to be going with @Coastguard_SOS and @sosmhcoastguard to a meeting with Mrs Louise Ellman, Chair of the Transport Select Committee.
The meeting concerns the proposed Maritime and Coastguard Agency cuts to the actual Coastguard Stations. I am proud to live in this wonderful isle of ours and that is what makes where we live so special. We are an island nation – I can remember (many years ago!) when I was in primary school being taught to sing patriotic and rousing songs, one of which included the following -
‘Hearts of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men, we always are ready, steady boys steady’
I always think of those words when I think of the wonderful teams of people who work at the Coastguard Stations. They are the 4th Emergency Service (as the previous post explained). Our navy has always been our pride and joy and I was looking for a suitable pic to use when I came across this article. It was published on the 17.11.2011 on the MSN News site. Oh my goodness, we are going to have to ask the French for help and hire out their rescue services if there are any disasters in the English Channel!
European MPs have hit out at the British Government’s cuts to the coastguard service
British and French Socialist Euro-MPs have joined forces to attack UK Government cuts to the coastguard service.
“UK ships will now have to rely on the French to come to the rescue if they get into trouble in the waters of the Channel,” said Brian Simpson MEP, chairman of the European Parliament’s transport committee. “This is further proof, if ever we needed it, that the UK Government’s cuts are going too far and it’s a sorry state of affairs.
“The British have been able to ensure safety of stricken vessels at sea in our coastal waters in one way or another for many hundreds of years, and this is a sad day for British pride as we now abandon the English Channel and cut coastguard services around the rest of the British coast.”
French MEP for North-West of France Estelle Grelier said: “It is unfair for the British Government to expect their work to now be financed by the French national budget. Privatising the UK coastguard service clearly undermines its efficiency.”
Four British tugs were withdrawn from service in the Dover Straits – one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world – at the end of September. One of their main tasks was to get any stricken vessels, many carrying oil and chemical waste, out of the shipping channels and to safety to avoid an environmental disaster.
Security in the area is now financed by France, with Britain able to pay for the use of the service in an emergency.
Calls for the creation of an EU Coastguard have been opposed by Ukip. Derek Clarke, Ukip MEP, said: “The British Government must scupper this idea immediately. The EU has already taken control of our fisheries and they now wish to float a proposal to take over control of our coastguard.”
He also criticised the reduction in UK coastguard services, saying: “The coalition Government has already decided to close eight British coastguard stations to leave the total number of open centres at eleven – a dangerous move for the safety of our fishermen.”
In fact, it is a very dangerous move for anyone venturing near our beaches or out at sea. We can but hope common sense will prevail, however ……..
We’ll let you know how the meeting goes.