BBC has some problems in Scotland

Today’s BBC webpage for Scotland carried a story on the concerns expressed by Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee on the Department for Transport’s plans to close down ten coastguard stations across the UK – including Scotland’s Clyde and Forth – and replace them with back up from a call centre in Fareham in Hampshire that will not be in operational before 2014.

In its coverage of the Committee’s report, the BBC said:

‘The Clyde and Forth stations are due to close by the end of the year.’

This is BBC Scotland material.

As anyone reading For Argyll knows, Forth Coastguard closed at the end 0f September.

Six weeks later the BBC hasn’t clocked that.

Clyde is to close in weeks – much of it already gone and going, including its transmission masts.

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26 Responses to BBC has some problems in Scotland

  1. What on earth do you mean, its transmission masts are gone?

    When Belfast takes over they will be using the same aerials and the coverage and service will be exactly the same.

    You really do have no idea what you are talking about. I am beginning to wonder if this applies across the board.

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  2. Amazing – a thumbs down within a minute of posting.

    I don’t know who gave me the thumbs down, but unlike Newsroom I spend a considerable portion of each year at sea and can assure you that Newsroom is speaking utter bilge when it comes to the Coastguard.

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    • Actually, you have no idea what I spend my time doing and you’ve never asked.
      We, on the other hand, have asked specific questions of the Coastguard and the authorities concerned about what is going on.
      On balance, we know more about what we are saying than you do about what you have said here.
      May we assume that you have sole knowledge that the Fareham call centre is to be operational in time for the imminent closure of Clyde coastgard, since it missed readiness for the closure of Forth?
      And may we take it that you are also content that the BBC, the national broadcaster, is unaware, six weeks after the event, that one of Scotland major coastguard stations has already closed?
      Just in case you were suggesting this – we, collectively or as individuals, never give thumbs up or down to any comment.
      Lynda

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      • I think that as a yachtsman and sailing instructor who spends a minimum of two months at sea every year monitoring CH16 I perhaps know a little more about this than you do.

        You said Clyde is to close in weeks – much of it already gone and going, including its transmission masts.M

        No ‘masts’ are ‘gone’ and none are ‘going’.

        Do you accept that? Yes or no?

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        • I suppose it could be said that Clyde Coastguard will shortly disappear from some transmission sites but the sites will still be there and some other Coastguard call centre will be heard from the same sites. The “masts” (usually actually towers!) will be still there because HM Coastguard don’t own most of them!

          Certainly Stornoway Coastguard has been heard more regularly in the Loch Linnhe area recently.

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  3. A comment from an acquaintance of mine, also a very experienced yachtsman and yachtmaster instructor of long standing:

    What absolute rubbish this person is pontificating. How can we have any kind of serious debate and have our opposition to the closures taken seriously with this nonsense being published. Too late anyway methinks. Personally I do not expect to experience any difference in the operational workings from Stornoway and Belfast. However only time will tell.

    I cannot help but notice that one of your greatest fans, Malcolm Kirk, has been keeping his head down on these threads. Malcolm is also a sailing instructor (though now retired I believe). Perhaps you would care to ask him how many of Clyde Coasguard’s aerials are ‘gone’.

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  4. I am very much against the closer of Clyde Coastguard being a regular sailor in the area. I have monitored this situation and cant believe what you are saying. The VHF masts are not gone or being removed in fact they are being maintained and continue to provide the required VHF coverage for the remaining Coastguard stations. There is actually a very real possibility that VHF coverage will improve at some of the current blind spots on the Firth of Clyde.

    Scaremongering stories which claim that “much of it already gone and going, including its transmission masts” are factually incorrect. Please do your research, any fool can blog nonsense.

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    • Clyde Coastguard told us themselves a couple of weeks ago that their masts were about to be taken away to be shared with Stornoway and with Belfast.
      We do not do scaremongering.

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      • I think you will have to clarify with the Coastguard what “taken away” means. They could be referring to the removal of Clyde Coastguard as an entity that controls their legacy VHF masts. The actual antenna assets will not be removed from their locations but the control of the transmitting and receiving signals will now be routed to the new allocated CG stations.

        No one involved in the sea within these areas is happy with the decision but the VHF masts are remaining in place, which they must be, to maintain the VHF coverage. This is mandated, there will be no reduction in VHF coverage according to what I have read.

        So to be honest, it looks like you are being given information which is being taken out of context, hence it reads like scaremongering. This is all public domain information, look it up and check for yourself. Its the responsible thing to do, if you want to be taken seriously.

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          • Most people consider VHF DF obsolete in these days of cheap HH GPS, personal EPIRBs etc. and I wonder how long it has been since it was used in earnest.

            The issue with the ‘masts’ is VHF coverage, which as you say will not be affected in spite of scaremongering stories on this blog.

            Most sailors – myself included – are very unhappy at the changes being made to the Coastguard, but ill-informed articles like those published on this website are counter-productive.

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        • “So to be honest, it looks like you are being given information which is being taken out of context, hence it reads like scaremongering.”

          There has been a lot of misinformation put out over the reduction in Coastguard call centres. Stornoway seemed to have had the most organised campaign so Stornoway was saved when many would say there was a better case for Clyde. There were reports in the press when the Stornoway helicopter was called out, suggesting that the helicopter was part of the cutbacks.

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      • Just to add my voice to this. When Clyde said their masts had been taken away, then meant from their control, not physically moved. This is quite obvious when taken in context of their statement saying they would be shared between Stornoway and Belfast. Did you think they were actually going to move the masts into other areas and leave the Clyde area bare? It is clear you have no understanding of these matters as if you did you would know that regardless of where the operations centre is, there still needs to be masts covering the area to pick up VHF signals.

        I find it ammusing that you are complaining about the BBC getting facts wrong when you are making far worse mistakes. While the BBC was factually incorect, you are just scaremongering.

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  5. I regret the closure of Forth and the intended closure of Clyde for all sorts of reasons but am horrified to hear that “..much of it already gone and going, including its transmission masts.” What is your source for this please?
    I had understood that Belfast would handle the traffic from the Clyde area with all the existing masts and although I deplore the loss of local knowledge Belfast have done this previously and the technology is well proven.

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  6. From what I hear about Scots renewables sailing ability??? I bet he’s praying that the coastguard ears in Belfast and Stornaway are able to hear him the next time he’s on channel 16 asking to be rescued.

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    • As a commercially endorsed yachtmaster and yachtmaster instructor who frequently sails in a professional capacity I regard that remark as defamatory.

      I have certainly never asked the CG to be ‘rescued’ – so Oban4me, you faceless anonymous sock puppet, I suggest you put up the evidence or shut up.

      Newsroom, are you going to allow this libel? It certainly would not be permitted on any of the sailing forums I frequent.

      Stupid question though – of course you are, provided it is directed at anyone who has the nerve to criticise your flawed ‘journalism’. If you are prepared to allow libellous comments by anonymous posters then I trust you are prepared to accept any possible consequences.

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      • The casting of aspersions and personal attacks towards individuals because you do not agree with their posts adds nothing to this online discussion and should be discouraged by the moderator.
        Newsroom made a point aimed at the first 5 or 6 people who posted on another unrelated article accusing (myself included) of “not coming up with one single argument to undermine any of the political and practical positions for which we have shown process”. I have criticised Newsroom due to what I believe to be her political bias as have others occasionally and feel justified in doing so as the articles I criticise, albeit not always constructively, are there for all to see.
        As Oban4me has not criticised Newsroom’s report but has a go at SR who does, does this entitle him to get away with accusations posted above or on this site at all? I’ve have participated on several other forums over the years where the moderator has stepped in for less.

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  7. As others have said the VHF communications masts will remain in position. It is possible that the separate DF masts where erected will go as this was a localised service where two or more masts are used for the function.

    The set up around the UK coast has been in place for many years where one coastguard site can switch to antennas in another part of the country using land lines and this is how Aberdeen cover the East Coats from The Moray Firth to the far reaches of the Forth Estuary and how Belfast Coastguard will cover the West Coast of Scotland and North coast of Ireland.

    It seems there is a lot of misinformation coming out here .

    There have been times in the past where Operators doon sooth have been switched into our system when cover was needed and it has always been the case that Clyde could cover for Aberdeen and Aberdeen or Forth cover for Clyde.

    I have been in the Oban area when it was obvious it was Forth Coastguard trying to give the weather and then giving the Forth working frequency and not Oban . :)

    Be assured that the masts might be moved for better coverage however there is no reason to even consider that masts other than the DF system masts will be removed.

    There is a downside to all this as we are finding on the east coast where the remote coastguards can be caught out by details given using local names for geographical features where it can take longer to convey the actual location. They will get there in time!

    Some one here is scaremongering!!!!!!!!

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    • The DF masts may be the answer to the confusion here. We were simply told – by Clyde Coastguard directly and in the context of discussing communications – that ‘masts’ were about to be moved. We did not realise that there were different masts but did not say ‘VHF masts’ were being moved, just ‘ransmission masts’.

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      • As I have said above, nothing is being physically moved. Clyde WERE talking about the VHF masts, they just meant that CONTROL of them was being moved to the other operations rooms.

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        • I was personally naive on this in, indeed, assuming that ‘moving’ meant a physical operation.
          However, is the moving of control not an immediate lessening of capability at Clyde in advance of its closing?
          Lynda

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          • I’d imagine what they’re doing is a phased hand over, where Stornoway are now handling a bit of Clyde’s patch in the North and Belfast are handling a bit in the South.

            While I don’t agree with the closures it seems prudent to hand over a bit of coverage to the centres that are taking over full time. This way they can check that there aren’t any technical issues and seems to be a better idea than just throwing all that new area to cover at a new team overnight.

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      • I seem to remember that it was announced some time ago that the Coastguard generally were drastically reducing the number of remote DF sites as part of cost savings but not part of the reduction in call centres.

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  8. I think the lesson to learn here is that getting the new 100% right 100% of the time is not easy. Perhaps Newsroom should learn a lesson and not be so quick to criticise the BBC who deliver thousands of news stories around the globe daily. The fact is that the Clyde and Forth stations are closed “by the end of the year” so the BBC is at least factually correct.

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  9. Without getting into the coastguard situation you appear surprised that the BBC reportage is somewhat biased…”‘The Clyde and Forth stations are due to close by the end of the year.’
    This is BBC Scotland material.”
    Your comment suprises ME – I would have thought that you would have been aware of this… Have a look at the latest bit of news on Newsnet Scotland: http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news
    There is also a fairly-newish site which covers matters like this: http://www.bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/

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  10. In answer to Forth Sailors posting, Coastguard Stations from well outside an area (eg, like Liverpool,Swansea, Thames etc) can’t just “take over” another area. In theory, yes they can, but in practice…………..nope! The equipment isn’t able to do it.

    As to the M.O.C. Well, one has to ask, why did the Fire Brigade abandon the building?

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