Members of the Coastguard SOS team made the (very long for some) journey up to Greenock for the flotilla/demonstration against the closure of Clyde MRCC. This was a significant gesture as Clyde is the second HM Coastguard station to close in just a few weeks’ time.
“Whilst members of the public are welcome to gather on land or on boats or vessels to show their support for the event, the setting off of red distress flares for anything other than a genuine emergency is illegal under the Merchant Shipping Act. Anyone who does so might be subject to an investigation by officers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”
An irresponsible act?
Well, that really depends upon your viewpoint… a pure legal stance.. it is breaking the law but many would argue that fair warning was given and there was no malicious intent.
Flares are let off with a dispensation from HM Coastguard; this can be for training purposes or an exercise.
There have been high profile examples of Olympians letting off orange smoke flares without any repercussions.
Orange smoke flares are designated as a daytime distress signal and red light flares are designated as night/day distress signal.
There is another argument… “situations will occur from time to time of which all, or almost all, right thinking people—the “common people” would say that it would be right to break the letter of the law”
Here we have a situation where the ‘normal’ processes of complaint and dialogue have been dismissed by the Government.
The ‘common people’ are in distress about the loss (against their will) of rightful protection and service from HM Coastguard which is funded by the people.
The frustrations of the good people of the Clyde area were borne out tonight in a show of unity & purpose.
If any prosecutions are forthcoming against any of the participants, then the letter of the law must be upheld against all… including … the windsurfer, the canoeists, the 40-50 boats… the Sea Cadets that lined the shore and the Olympians that appeared on the TV.
There is also a warning from campaigners… should any tragedy be attributed to the loss of a Coastguard Station against the will of the people, then those who failed to listen to us, MUST be prosecuted to the fullest extent !
I am proud to have travelled up to Scotland & witnessed the voice of the common people.
Written by CoastalJoe
As I watched tonight’s protest … I could not fail to notice how a considerable number of Parachute Flares failed to deploy properly or reach any height. Perhaps this was a good demonstration of just how unreliable some of these emergency devices are.
I recommend that the Maritime & Coastguard Agency spends some time investigating the reliability of these devices.