The Transport Select Committee has announced that the report from its unusual second inquiry into matters relating to HM coastguard reorganisation will be published on Tuesday 11th December.
The report is concerned with two major issues:
- the plan to withdraw the Emergency Towing Vessels from the sea areas off the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland in particular, now becoming a major focus for new oil and gas exploration;
- the closure of UK Coastguard rescue coordination centres – with Forth closed at the end of September, Clyde already degraded and due to close formally on 18th December, and Swansea, Portland, Liverpool, Brixham, Thames and Yarmouth ticketed for the slipway – with their sea areas added to the responsibilities of other existing stations.
In the two years following the announcement on 10th December 2010 that the Government intended to close UK Coastguard rescue coordination centres, the National Coastguard SOS Campaign Group have continued to highlight the concerns of Coastguard Officers, mariners and the public.
The publishing of the inquiry report by the Transport Select Committee follows a second inquiry in-which the concerns regarding the safety and robustness of the closure programme were evident.
The National Campaign SOS campaign group is understandably hopeful that the Committee has taken on board the legitimate concerns of maritime safety stakeholders.
The campaign hopes that the Transport Select Committee has recognised that the contents of its report will, by consent or challenge, effectively ‘shape the future of HM Coastguard’.
We expect a full statement from the Coastguard SOS group to follow the publication of the report next Tuesday.
Note: Members of the Transport Select Committee are: Mrs Louise Ellman (Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool Riverside) (Chair); Steve Baker (Conservative, Wycombe); Jim Dobbin (Labour/Co-operative, Heywood and Middleton); Julie Hilling (Labour, Bolton West); Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative, Spelthorne); Mr John Leech (Liberal Democrat, Manchester Withington); Karen Lumley (Conservative, Redditch); Karl McCartney (Conservative, Lincoln); Lucy Powell (Manchester Central); Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South); Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley and Broughton).