Displaying items by tag: MCA
The British government could be ready to change its plans for the streamlining of the UK coastguard service.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that while there will be no turning back on reforms, concessions such as closing fewer stations and keeping more open 24/7 are being considered - which could save Northern Ireland's only full-time coastguard base from the chop.
The centre at Bangor was earmarked for scaleback or closure under plans proposed by Shipping Minister Mike Penning, But he was forced to extend the consultation period, with a spokesperson saying that "the government is committed to taking all points of view into account before decicing how best to proceed".
Shadow Shipping Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “We were concerned about the level of cuts initially proposed and are pleased that the Government appears to be reviewing its plans."
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.
The union representing coastguard staff in the UK has expressed its fears over the loss of air rescue services when a number of helicopters are transferred to Ireland next year.
Under CHC's €500m contract to provide search and rescue services for the Irish Coast Guard, four helicopters will be withdrawn from England and Scotland for redeployment in Ireland.
However, HeraldScotland reports that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has no plans to replace these helicopters, which separately service Scotland's Isle of Lewis and Shetland Islands as well as the Solent and Portland in England.
The recent collapse of the privatisation deal for UK search and rescue services has meant there is no new operator lined up to replace CHC.
Jeremy Gautrey of the PCS union said that the situation "has now potentially left the coastguard service stranded without the guarantee that it will have sufficient helicopters to carry out search-and-rescue operations when the current helicopters retire."
HeraldScotland has more on the story HERE.
UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning described his meeting with Bangor coastguard staff last week as "a breath of fresh air", BBC News reports.
Last Wednesday Penning met staff at Northern Ireland's only coastguard centre, which is threatened with closure under plans to streamline the UK's coastguard station network.
Minister Penning admitted to BBC News that Bangor was not on the original list of centres marked for closure.
"It was a decision made by myself and the secretary of state and we were honest about that," he said, adding that there was now "acceptance of the people in the frontline that there has to be change and there has to be modernisation".
The minister said no date had been set for a final decision on which stations would be closed.
Meanwhile, the Community Telegraph reports on confusion among the public following the meeting with Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officials in Bangor on 3 March.
Ian Graham of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents coastguards, said: “They didn’t really answer any of the questions from the public adequately."
He added that statistics they used in a slideshow to illustrate rescue incident start time were "misleading" as "a lot of rescues can last for hours".
Bangor locals came face-to-face with officials from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over the proposals to close Northern Ireland's only full-time sea rescue base.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that MCA bosses were loudly heckled when they tried to offer justifications for the closure of the Bangor station.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's network of coastguard centres will be scaled back to just three 24-hour stations and a handful of daytime-only centres for the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.
Supporters of the station said they felt let down at the “bad deal” and “shabby” proposals presented by the MCA and Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who added Bangor to the closures list at the last minute.
BBC News reports that more than 100 people attended the meeting in Bangor on Thursday evening, including members of the public, MLAs, councillors and MPs.
Bill McFadyen, the MCA's regional director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, admitted at the meeting that he was not handed a copy of the proposals until after they had been finalised.
He added: "Of course we will still maintain a high level of service here in NI as we move forward in whatever direction comes out of the consultation."
The Belfast Telegraph has more in the story HERE.
The meeting will provide an opportunity for the community around the existing Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to hear more about the proposals, ask questions of MCA representatives and air their views.
The meeting at Marine Court Hotel, 18-20 Quay Street, Bangor. BT20 5ED will be independently chaired and begin at 7:30pm. The meeting is expecting to draw to a close by 9:00pm.
The proposals for Coastguard modernisation, together with the consultation documents, can be found on the MCA website at www.mcga.gov.uk and www.dft.gov.uk
The Irish Independent reports that Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey insisted coastal emergency services would be "enhanced" under plans to streamline the British coastguard station network.
Nineteen stations will be reduced to just two 24-hour centres - in the south of England and at Aberdeen on Scotland's east coast. Five day-only centres would also be retained, with one located at either Liverpool or Bangor.
The MCA chief executive said that local knowledge could be enhanced by centres providing services over a larger area.
But a union representative accused the MCA of proposing a skeleton service that could put lives in jeopardy.
Ian Graham of the NI branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at the Bangor centre, said: ""All the knowledge that people in the station have will be lost forever and that will put everyone who uses the sea and inland waterways at risk."
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.
Local people will voice their opposition to the proposed closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue base at a public meeting with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) next month, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
Supporters of the Bangor facility, which provides 24-hour cover for the NI coastline, have also demanded "concrete answers" from UK Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who is due to visit the country next week.
“If he comes here with a positive attitude and says the decision to target our Coastguard was wrong, that’s the outcome we’re hoping for," said Strangford MP Jim Shannon. “If not, then he’s got a fight on his hands. We will take this to Westminster if necessary."
MCA representatibes will meet Bangor MLAs and community leaders on 3 March at the Marine Court Hotel to discuss the proposals.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.
The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for the local communities around the existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) to hear more about the proposals, ask questions of MCA representatives and have the opportunity to express their views.
Each meeting will be independently chaired and will begin at 7:30pm, expecting to draw to a close by 9pm.
Humber - Monday, 21 February 2011, The Spa, South Marine Drive, Bridlington, East Yorkshire. YO15 3JH
Thames - Tuesday 22 February 2011, Columbine Centre, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze, Essex. CO148PZ
Yarmouth - Wednesday 23 February 2011, Great Yarmouth Town Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. NR30 2QF
Aberdeen - Wednesday, 23 February 2011, Pittodrie Stadium, Pittodrie Street, Aberdeen. AB24 5QH
Forth - Thursday, 24 February 2011, Waid Academy, St Andrews Road, Anstruther, Fife. KV10 3 HD
Dover – Thursday, 24 February 2011, Dover Town Hall, Biggin Street, Dover, Kent. CT16 1DL
Shetland - Monday, 28 February 2011, Town Hall, Upper Hillhead, Lerwick, Shetland. ZE1 0HB
Stornoway - Tuesday, 1 March 2011, Nicholson Institute, Springfield Road, Stornoway. HS1 2PZ
Solent - Tuesday 1 March 2011, Thorngate Halls (Community Centre), Thorngate Halls, Bury House, Bury Road, Gosport, Hampshire. PO12 3PX
Holyhead - Wednesday, 2 March 2011, Holyhead High School, Alderley Terrace, Holyhead, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey. LL65 1NP
Clyde - Wednesday 2 March 2011, Port Glasgow Town Hall, 35 King Street, Port Glasgow. PA14 5HD
Belfast - Thursday, 3 March 2010, Marine Court Hotel, 18-20 Quay Street, Bangor. BT20 5ED
Liverpool – Thursday, 3 March 2011, Southport Convention Centre, The Promenade, Southport. PR9 0DZ
Milford Haven – Friday, 4 March 2011, Cleddau Bridge Hotel, Essex Road, Pembroke Dock. SA72 6EG
Swansea – Monday, 7 March 2011, Marriott Hotel, Maritime Quarter, Swansea. SA1 3SS
Portland - Tuesday, 8 March 2011, All Saints Church of England School, Sunnyside Road, Wyke Regis, Weymouth. Dorset, DT49BJ
Falmouth – Wednesday 9 March 2011, Tremough Campus, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall. TR10 9EZ
Brixham - Thursday, 10 March 2011, Brixham College, Higher Ranscombe Road, Brixham. TQ5 9HF
Kirkwall - Tuesday, 15 March 2011, Town Hall, Broad Street, Kirkwall. KW15 1DH
Ullapool – Wednesday, 16 March 2011, Macphail Centre, Mill Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire. IV26 2UN
The details of these proposals, together with the consultation documents, can be found on the MCA website at www.mcga.gov.uk.
Two lifeboats proceeded to the Stena Pioneer this afternoon after crew on the ferry issued a mayday call reporting a fire in their engine room whilst they were on passage to Fleetwood on the Irish Sea. A helicopter was also placed on standby.
Liverpool Coastguard received the mayday at 3.36 pm and made contact with crew on board the vessel, who reported that they still had full power and steering but that there was a fire in the engine room that they were fighting with their on board fire fighting equipment.
Liverpool Coastguard sent lifeboats from Fleetwood and Barrow to the scene. The fire was reported as out at 4.30 pm and the ferry is now docked at Fleetwood.
Liverpool Coastguard Watch Manager Paul Parkes said:
"A fire on a ferry 12 miles out with 46 people on board could potentially turn into a very serious incident, and so we acted quickly to send rescue resources to its aid. Luckily, the fire was dealt with using on board equipment and so the lifeboats escorted the ferry into Fleetwood where it was met by Lancashire Fire and Rescue service and an MCA surveyor."