The Coastguard SOS team is made up of members of the public who have serious concerns for the safety of people when the Coastguard stations closures are implemented, as unfortunately members of the actual Coastguard service are subject to gagging orders and cannot speak – who said this country was democratic?!
We’ve been telling you the good news that Mr Cameron stated in his letter; “Finally, those centres that are planned for closure will remain open until 2015 in order to ensure that the planned transition to the new arrangements will maximise the retention of local knowledge.”
A very straightforward statement and one that was welcomed by the Coastguard SOS team fighting to keep all the stations open. Thank goodness the Prime Minister has the sense to make sure the stations will stay open until 2015 at the very least, so that the changeover to a national call centre (see Penning’s Folly), would be smoother and give appropriate time for everything that would be necessary for the hand-overs.
Today, the news from Inverclyde Now gave the news about this, stating -
THE Clyde Coastguard rescue co-ordination centre at Greenock will close later this year as planned, it has been confirmed, despite a letter from the Prime Minister which appeared to say that Coastguard centres ear-marked for closure would stay open for another two years.
Coastguard campaigners received a copy of a letter from Prime Minister David Cameron to a constutuent which stated: “Those centres that are planned for closure will remain open until 2015 in order to ensure that the planned transitions to the new arrangements will maximise the retention of local knowledge.”
Campaigners issued statements saying the centres — including Clyde — had been granted a “reprieve.”
I would like to take issue with the words highlighted in red – the letter did not appear to state; the letter categorically stated that Coastguard centres earmarked for closure would stay open: and also for another two years; the years from 2012 to 2015 are three, unless my fundamental knowledge of mathematics is incorrect!
The page goes on to state -
But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) insisted there has been no change to the plan and that Clyde Coastguard will shut in December with its work being transferred to the centres in Belfast and Stornoway.
Navy Buildings, Greenock
An MCA spokesman said: “The reform of Coastguard stations will go ahead as planned. The PM has written to his constituent to clarify the matter. (i) Under the plans the Coastguard co-ordination centres at Forth, Clyde, Great Yarmouth, Liverpool, Thames, Swansea, Brixham and Portland will close progressively by 31 March 2015.
“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) plan to close their base at Clyde [Navy Buildings in Eldon Street] and part of that plan means that the Clyde Coastguard and all its associated equipment must be removed. Staff are already informally aware of the intended closure date of 31 December 2012. (ii)
“A change team comprising operational staff from Clyde, Belfast and Stornoway is actively managing the technical and operational work required to achieve the decommissioning of Clyde by 31 December 2012. We aim to transfer operational coordination for Clyde’s area to Belfast and Stornoway by 18 December 2012. This will avoid trying to manage technical switchover during the Christmas period.”
(i) The Prime Minister has written to this constituent to clarify the matter – indeed he has, and as said before, he categorically stated the coastguard stations would stay open until 2015. There has been no other letter received.
(ii) Staff are already informally aware of the intended closure date of 31 December 2012. And Happy New Year to you too! But seriously, what utter disregard and disrespect for the people in the team working there.
What an awful state of affairs this is. The Prime Minister makes a statement in black and white and the MCA media team states this is incorrect! A very good question would be, Who is running this country?
From the first announcement, this MCA plan has been riddled with inconsistencies and errors. There has been no transparency, no listening to peoples’ concerns and, certainly, no risk and assessment exercises carried out on each particular station. And, even more importantly, this is despite requests from the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament. Horrendous ~ you cannot describe rocks and waves to a national call centre, which obviously does not have the local knowledge that is critical to successful rescues.
This is a cost cutting exercise that only benefits the Department of Transport and the elite of the MCA. Shame on them.
Written by Lynne Gray