Sunday, 27 January 2013

HM Coastguard Coordination Centre in Bangor - Cause for Concern?

I visited the Coastguard Station in Bangor this morning with Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, Margaret Ritchie MP and Jim Shannon MP. We need to work together to resist the changes proposed to this vital service. .. Naomi Long MP, 14 February 2011

Two years on, the Control Centre in Bangor has been retained but a significant change has taken place. Bangor now has responsibility for part of the west coastline of Scotland following the closure of Clyde in December, in addition to its responsibility for the Northern Ireland coastline.

Yesterday's post in the For Argyll blog poses concerns about the current arrangements. Here is a snippet:

Rescue Coordination Centre Manager, Richard Newell, of Belfast Coastguard, resigned from his post around two weeks ago.

Clyde Coastguard was closed for good on 18th December 2012, with the bulk of its massive sea area transferring to the responsibility of Belfast Coastguard/ Stornoway Coastguard was also involved in assuming responsibility for part of Clyde’s northern sector.

The maritime world was concerned about the consequences of the new loading on the Belfast station, already responsible for the entire coastline of Northern Ireland.

At the time of these major changes to the Coastguard service Mr Newell had made it known locally that if he considered the future was becoming dangerous, then he would go.

This may not, of course, be why he has now done so – in under a month after the full formal handover of much of the former Clyde sea area to Belfast; but it is the inference and has to be a matter of concern.

If anyone can shed further light on the current state of affairs in Bangor please contact an elected representative, the For Argyll blog or NALIL blog. It's most important that the excellent work carried out by our emergency services is enhanced, not treated in a reckless manner. The decision by Government to close local control centres before the new super control arrangements are built and tested does not inspire confidence.

When will Belfast MRCC in Bangor be getting a helicopter for its sector? The current helicopter fleet operates out of Lee-on-Solent, Portland, Stornoway and Sumburgh.