Saturday, 16 April 2011

HM Coastguard Control Centres - Government About-turn?

It's important to emphasis the role of a HM Coastguard Co-Ordination Centre

The role of HM Coastguard is laid out in the Coastguard Act 1925.

“HM Coastguard is responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of civil maritime search and rescue within the UK maritime search and rescue region. This includes the mobilisation, organisation and tasking of adequate resources to respond to either persons either in distress at sea, or to persons at risk of injury or death on the cliffs or shoreline of the UK.” 

Belfast Coastguard is: 
  • Responsible for all maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) and other emergency situations, incidents and calls for assistance in its operational area. 
  • Area of responsibility is from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough including Lough Erne and Lough Neagh. 
  • Provide guidance and information to all coastal and maritime users within the district. 
  • The UK liaison station with the Irish Coastguard and enjoys a close working relationship with them regularly making use of their air and sea assets as required.

 Staff at Belfast Coastguard plan and coordinate search and rescue (SAR) response as per the Coastguard Act 1925.  This includes tasking as required Rescue Helicopters, RNLI Lifeboats, Coastguard Teams, other Emergency Services assets, and/or any other units available at that time.

To enable staff to do their job effectively, they have to have a thorough understanding of and be able to operate Coastguard communications equipment including radios, satellite communications, Digital Selective Calling (DSC), Automatic Identification System (AIS), telephones (including the 999 system), e-mail, and paging systems."

Mike Penning, Under-Secretary of State for Transport (2nd left), 
under pressure from Sylvia Hermon, Owen Paterson and Margaret Ritchie

Coastguard station could get a lifeline in Government rethink
By Sam Lister - Belfast Telegraph
Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ministers are poised to scale down their plans for a radical shake-up of the UK Coastguard service that could have left Northern Ireland without a dedicated base.

While Government sources insist there will not be a U-turn on reforms, some concessions are being considered, including keeping more bases open round-the-clock.

Changes to the proposals are also understood to include closing fewer stations, which will fuel hope among campaigners fighting to save Bangor.

The Belfast Lough emergency centre was earmarked to be downgraded to daylight-only operations or closed altogether under Shipping Minster Mike Penning's plans.


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