Under current proposals the Maritime a Coastguard Agency plans to close ten of the existing 14 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres and to leave three that remain open on a 24-hour basis and five that will operate in qdaylightq hours only. The Transport Committee found little support for the measures and has no confidence that, under these proposals, the Coastguard will in future be able to respond to emergencies at sea as well as they do now, let alone in a more effective way. The Committee is not convinced by the Government's claim that technology can, at present, replace local knowledge. Serious concerns were raised that the safety of people at sea, on cliffs and beaches will be jeopardised if the proposals proceed in their current form. Ministers must issue revised proposals for further consultation. The Committee also strongly condemns the Government's cost-cutting decision to withdraw funding for the four Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) stationed around the UK coast - large tugs that intercept disabled ships to prevent environmental pollution disasters. The Transport Committee also criticises proposals to completely remove government funding for the Maritime Incident Response group (MIRG), a national fire-fighting-at-sea capability. Ministers should instead adopt a slimmed-down MIRG which is more cost-effective than the present arrangement. Lastly, the Committee records its disappointment that Mike Penning MP, Minister for Shipping, instructed regular coastguards not to give oral evidence to the committee on the basis that they were junior civil servants.aWhy did the DIT accept in 2003 that there was a need to address the issue of firefighting at sea around the coast of the UK, subsequently introduce the MIRG and now in ... aEmergency PreparednessaaGuide to the Civil Contingencies Act anbsp;...
|Title||:||The Coastguard, Emergency Towing Vessels and the Maritime Incident Response Group|
|Author||:||Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Transport Committee|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2011-06-23|