Thursday, December 16, 2010

UK Proposes Massive Coast Guard Cuts

A leaked plan from the UK Department for Transport proposes the reduction of Coast Guard facilities from 19 to 8, only 3 of which would operate 24/7.

The new full-time maritime centers would be at Aberdeen, Southampton/Portsmouth, and Dover. Five sub-centers would be open in daylight hours only, at Swansea, Humber, Falmouth, Belfast or Liverpool, and Stornoway or Shetland.

One immediate issue of contention is that this plan leaves only one Coast Guard base in Wales.

In addition, the transport secretary continues with plans to privatize the search and rescue operation. The Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and Coast Guard's "aging" Sea King helicopters would be replaced with a SAR system supplied by a private contractor.

The effects of all this on Coast Guard radio are not yet known, since nothing is as yet definite.