No Coastguard confusion over Greenock fishing boat grounding

We have had detailed clarification of the incident – on the evening of Thursday 21st March – where a fishing boat ran aground on rocks near the of the old Navy Buildings at Greenock – from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s [MCA] Press Officer, Fred Caygill.

The reality is very different from the reports we had received and carries many additional points of interest.

The 999 call from the member of the public – the local lady concerned who had informed Iain Mackenzie MP of the incident – came in at 19.24. The lady reported that ‘a fishing boat had hit her patio’.

The Coastguard station attempted to reach the fishing boat concerned on VHF radio – with  no response, so they kept the lady caller on the line as their immediate link to the incident while they tasked the relevant rescue services. This is normal practice.

Within 5 minutes of that 999 call being received – and while the lady was still on the line, Belfast Coastguard had tasked the Greenock Coastguard Rescue team.

Within 10 minutes they had tasked the Helensburgh Inshore Lifeboat to the scene.

Both were informed that there were two crew onboard the grounded boat.

Within 15 minutes the lady caller reported that a second fishing boat was coming in towards the grounded one.

Within 20 minutes the coastguard were informed that the second fishing  boat had got a line aboard the casualty.

At 19.45, the grounded boat was pulled clear by its partner fishing boat.

Helensburgh Inshore Lifeboat – a RIB [Rigid Inflatable Boat] – got to the scene at this stage. It may be that a RIB – which is visually low profile -  was not recognised as a lifeboat by the lady in question.

The lifeboat was instructed to escort the tow to the James Watt Dock at Greenock; and the Coastguard Rescue team were re-routed to that location to meet the fishing boats and check their situation.

Throughout the incident and for whatever reason, neither fishing boat responded to Coastguard communications to them on VHF Channel 16, the emergency channel.

There is a serious safety issue here with onboard VHF absent, unserviceable, turned off or ignored.

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37 Responses to No Coastguard confusion over Greenock fishing boat grounding

  1. Not that different from your previous ramblings on the story, then? As joiners do, measure twice, cut once….maybe that should apply to bloggers? Check facts, then publish.

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  2. I still have my old journalism textbooks if you’d like to borrow them? There’s a helpful chapter on verifying sources and how to do this properly.
    As we like to say in this part of the world, what a total riddy!

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      • oh give over!

        you were able to post the story on the internet, you apparently were able to cmmunicat with coastguardSOS, Iain Mackenzie, and the woman who it appears lied about her 45 minute ‘ordeal’.

        To suggest you had no communicatons, when the story was posted online (isn’t the internet the biggest communications network in the world?) is somewhat laughable.

        I’m no journalist, but i’d have thought it would be an idea to hold the story until the facts were known, rather than risking all future credibility by getting it wrong, quickly.

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        • By the time we got communications back, this story had been sitting in draft for two days [waiting for final checking] – along with several others prepared offline and ready to publish when communications were restored.
          In the hurried catch up then to get live material back on the site, all drafts were simply moved to immediate publication.
          Had we lacked integrity we need not have published the detailed facts as soon as we were sure that the original information we were given was incorrect; or we could have corrected the original in its current lower position on the page.
          But we did not wish to do anything other than get the correct facts to this incident o the immediate attention of as many readers as possible.
          The error is my responsibility in the scramble to go live again as quickly as possible – I regret this failure and apologise unreservedly for it.

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          • Why did you believe an idiot like mckenzie- he’s well known for embelishment and spouting complete drivel.
            If mckenzie says one thing – do the opposite

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      • It covers enough that I’ll never publish a story so spectacularly fudged as you have managed to.

        Embarrassingly amateur stuff. Stick to writing community newsletters until you learn how to cover the news accurately.

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  3. you totally misrepresented the situation in an attempt to stir things up, will you be issuing a formal public apology ?

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  4. Seems to be a lot of ex Clyde staff moaning!?!? Who feeds you this stuff?? Get a life! Get the facts correct! Surely these people in Belfast and their supporting teams deserve praise for the work they do! printing such drivel helps no-one! As for Iain McKenzie, he should turn his attention to more pressing local matters that are factual not some old biddy makin up shoite! Constituents indeed! Who are hese constituents?? The same ones that didn’t want you to give a yes vote to Gay Marriage? How about real news? Ian Mckenzies Expenses?

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  5. Unfortunately, this was just the latest in a long line of innacurate stories published by For Argyll about the handover from Clyde to Belfast Coastguard, all of which have been based on rumour and hearsay, rather than fact.

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  6. I have got to laugh at every one of these comments! You’re right…I will continue to ‘moan’ until I believe the jobs are being handled the way they should be! The way they would’ve done had Clyde not been closed! Yes, the busiest station in Scotland…CLOSED!? Would Tesco close their busiest store????
    Do any of you truly believe that the MCA press officer is really HONESTLY going to tell the truth of the incident if it proves the point!?!? Don’t be ridiculous…
    I CHOSE to accept redundancy from my job, I have no agenda. But I will continue the fight to stop any further closures by PROVING that this does not work! Lives will be lost!
    Coastguard Rescue Teams are told not to call in to the ops room because “we cannot handle the volume of calls” – this is all recorded, as is every conversation via telephone or radio!! Tell me that’s a lie when you hear it! Rescue Teams cannot get through to the ops room via landline because there aren’t enough lines available & frequently have to dial 999 to get vital information through!! Don’t any of you tell us that this is acceptable. Reliable sources, other rescue units, tell us that they too have had to spend an unreasonable amount of time explaining their location, how they can be called out & area covered…This as far as I can see is unreasonable & down right dangerous!!
    The emergency services should not be suffering these cuts! CG, Police, Fire & Rescue, Ambulance….none of them!

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  7. I would also like to see a formal apology and retraction of this story on their Facebook page from Dennis O’Connor of National Coastguard SOS. He mentioned the “obvious failure” of Belfast Coastguard to respond in this incident, and I think it has now been proven that there was no failure, yet the story is still on their Facebook page, causing upset and giving a false picture of the situation.

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  8. Dennis o’connor is looking lie some sort of nutcase after all of this.

    He recently posted;

    ‘Our opinion is that as this is such a conflicting response from the MCA to that of the first informant and MP it’s important to establish clarity because there are just too many unanswered questions. Clearly something does not tally’

    Giving the impression he thinks the MCA have lied. No doubt he will make yet again another FOI request, which will only serve to prove that this consTITuate lied about the length of the phone call. or will he then suggest the staff at belfast create ficticious incident logs, yeah, because they don’t have enough to do…

    Then you have muppets saying things like;

    ‘! Those of us who worked at Clyde KNOW you can be relied on when needed!! No, these comments are regarding the lack of local knowledge since Belfast have taken over, which is obviously having a serious effect on the response times of the staff in the operations rooms and of CRTs, RNLI & helos. Belfast are struggling to maintain 2-3 people on watch per shift….There were always 4-6 on at Clyde…How can the staff at Belfast be expected to respond quickly & safely to incidents when they don’t know the area AND have the Belfast patch to maintain on top…..’

    and big Dennis once again with something of a contradiction;

    ‘@Coastguard_SOS Just to underline what XXX said…this report is about a delay caused by coordination of the incident from Belfast. It is in no way meant to be critical of any officers at Belfast or CRO’s /RNLI crews.’

    It’s Officers that do the co-ordination at belfast, so blaming the co-ordination IS blaming the officers, without them, there would be no co-ordination.

    I considered Forargyl a good source of news for coastguard information on the west coast of scotland until the recent ‘belfast is close for the weekend’ and then this farce.
    Same can be said for coastguard SOS, any impression I had of them doing a good things has now been utterly wiped out by their contempt for the efforts at belfast.

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  9. That’s quite a stiff attack by Anonymouse on several people which considering the writer is prepared to hide behind a suitably named username is a bit rich. It seems to me that some people posting on here are happy to pass comment and single out individuals for particular criticism but are not prepared to accept that For Argyll published the initial story based on what one should consider to be a credible source.
    Personally I think that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones so some need to get over their over-egged rant and move on. Judging by the coastguard SOS Facebook page they have faced up and published a message linking to the latest story by For Argyll but it is still invoking strong criticism by Anonymouse who also attempts to twist other posts from the page.
    Maybe Anonymouse works for the maritime and coastguard agency. This would explain why he or she is so angry about everything but singling individuals out and calling another a liar does not help your argument. It makes it worse reading than the original article that was published.
    It’s a difficult task that the stations at Aberdeen Stornoway and Belfast face. Nobody wants them to fail and I’m sure that they will carry on doing a fine job but they need the staff to do so

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  10. I doubt Dennis Minds, he has put his name all over the internet and if anything should be glad this is invoking some sort of discussion and getting someones attention.

    He would also be the first to point out that MCA staff are under a gagging order so sorry to disappoint you with your theorey that I work for them. Im merely someone who works on the sea and speaks to coastguards (whose station is due to close.) I have concerns, but storys like the original one don’t help their cause when they are factualy inaccurate, and actually totally miss the real issues, which as you say are staffing not the fact that clyde have now closed, which actually didn’t ‘allways’ have 4-6 staff on, and infact

    ‘The Minister will be aware that the staffing levels at Clyde fell below risk-assessed levels on a number of occasions in the lead-up to the closure.’

    I just wonder why when there is actually a real issue here for the staff at belfast and stornoway people feel the need to visciously lie about what is going on.

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  11. It is not only one person YOU are viscously attacking! Others are labelled muppets. If you don’t work for the MCA & never have, what makes you such an expert on the subject? How do you know what is truth & what is lies?
    Regarding your ‘Clyde falling below minimum manning’ on the run up to closure – well made point, however, this is due to the fact that several staff took alternative employment, went on sick leave and maternity leave before they were pushed out and the MCA never replaced them. Would you have refused alternative employment had you been offered it? There were no manning issues before the closure was announced.
    I’m disappointed at your attitude towards people trying to save other CG stations from closure. You’d think as someone who works at sea & speaks to a station earmarked for closure, you would understand why these people are fighting to stop it…..

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  12. Fighting to stop what? Clyde has allready closed, people need to get over that and allow Belfast to get on with the job at hand.

    I never said I was an expert on the subject, and only expressed my opinion, first that forargyll were wreckless and foolish to publish the story in the first place, and then that the fact that even when the MCA clarify the situation people STILL don’t believe what they are being told. As if there is come huge conspiracy over how long it took to get a grounded fishing boat off some rocks.

    I not attacking any individual per se, (hence removing the ex clyde staff’s name from their onslaught) but simply the ideas that are being put forward by these people who claim to support HM coastguard.

    Lieing about how bad the stuation is isn’t going to get anyone anywhere and only causes more confusion to a situation which is widely misunderstood by the general public.

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  13. So just to clarify, IMO, this story (or the 0riginal one anyway) is not about stopping other stations closing. It was about trying to prove a point that they have been trying to prove since december.

    That belfast can’t do the jobs clyde could do.

    It reads like a witch hunt.

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    • I think the original story was about a “fishing boat” that went on the rocks and hit somebody’s patio. There are some things here that would have made the story interesting such as, was it a real fishing boat or a pleasure boat? Did they report the grounding to the Coastguard and why were they not answering their radio? Did they have a radio? Was the skipper licensed if it was a fishing boat? Did they call the other boat (presumably by mobile phone) to come into a rocky shore in the dark without a back up plan?
      Everything has been swept away to have a go at the Bangor Coastguard, who would seem to have gained some control of the situation through third party communication.

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  14. When did anyone point the finger at Belfast CG? Never. I personally think you have it in for anyone with an opinion differing from yours.
    As an ex CG myself, I can see why people are angry that stations are being closed, too much pressure is being put on staff! They are now being made responsible for areas far bigger than they have ever been & with far less manpower….THAT is the point people are making. At no point have I, or anyone else, as far as i can see, said that staff at Belfast are incompetent. They are more than capable. They wouldn’t be in the posts if they weren’t.
    From what I can see, words are being twisted to suit your opinion of Clyde staff. Those staff are well aware that their jobs and station are gone, there’s no need for you to continually remind them, nor make out that they have some kind of ridiculous vendetta against other CGs. Maybe all of you saying the Clyde staff should get over it, really need to take a little notice of your own advice & indeed get over this idea that you seem to have regarding the witch hunt or whatever you want to call it. Seriously, we are all grown ups. Can we not act like it? Reducing yourself to name calling really, come on! Everyone is entitled to an opinion, as you are. But labelled people with vile names is not at all acceptable nor a mature manner in which to voice your opinion.
    I think you should have another look at the comments…
    And whilst we are on the subject, all I see is people commenting on information they are given. Exactly what you have done with the information from the MCA press office. Who exactly decides which story is right & which is wrong?

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  15. To suggest no one is pointing the finger at Belfast given the tone of the original article, and subsequent posts (some on facebook) made by members of the coastguard sos group and former staff members of clyde coastguard, is laughable.
    Indeed, they continue to state they are not personal comments, and while they don’t name any individual working their, the tone of the posts suggests otherwise.

    The original story was lies. coastguard SOS are now suggesting that both HM coastguards logs of events (and therefore the RNLI’s log, since they match) are ficticous.

    It all gives an impression of conspiracy theorey like there is some sort of cover up, infact, never mind impressions, he stated clear as day he thought there was a cover up

    ‘Coastguard_SOS @Coastguard_SOS

    @AndrewAyr. Its a cover up Andrew. Simple as that. They know full well what happened but are more interested in putting out propaganda’

    why anyone would listen to someone who comes out with something like that when talking about a serious issue is beyond me.

    I ctually look forward to seeing them on the one show, I reckon it’ll be a great laugh.

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  16. How do you know that logs match if you don’t work for either? If you have seen the logs, the law is being broken! Alarm bells are ringing!! Case closed….you obviously work for CG, RNLI or know someone who indeed does & is breaking the rules by showing you incident logs!! Perhaps someone should question how official incident logs, which contain personal information of first informants, CG team members, lifeboat crew, police private numbers, addresses….etc could end up in the, as YOU stated yourself, the public domain!?
    I disagree with your views. You disagree with mine. You’ve said that people on FB are ‘lying’ but you have no proof to your story either. NOBODY at any point pointed the finger at Belfast staff. You can say it as many times as you wish. It never happened. I have also read the comments on FB. What was said, was that local knowledge has been lost by the transfer, the number of staff on shift is insufficient and that staff have stated they cannot deal with the volume of calls coming in. That is not saying anyone is incompetent. That is stating a FACT whether you choose to believe it or not. I personally know some if the team members who were told by staff at the station they “cannot cope with the volume of calls” If you have access to incident logs, you should also have access to voice recordings.
    You are right about one thing, someone is lying….
    I have drawn my own conclusions of who that is from every statement YOU have made. Shot yourself in the foot there!!
    Regardless, I won’t argue the point any further. Those ex Clyde CG staff are merely trying to stop any further CG station closures…perhaps if this is the attitude of staff, they just shouldn’t bother. Wonder what you’ll have to say when the redundancy letter falls through your postbox or you finally admit that the staff cannot keep up with the workload??

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  17. I’ve simply read the corrected report here and a report on the RNLI website about helensburgh lifeboats attendence.

    Since the two of them match, im more inclined to believe them, rather than a report which lets face it sounded absoutley unbelievable in the first place, before finding out it has ccome from an MP known to stir.

    Once again you lot jump the gun and make crazy accusations with no proof.

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  18. In addition a CRT member also posted on the coastguard SOS facebook page that they had attended the scene within 20 minutes of being paged, indeed they doesn’t discuss how long it took to page them in the first place, but it certainly helps to corroborate the RNLI and CG report.

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  19. Lets get a grip chaps and chapesses – it is the “new” system that is at fault – not the individuals – experienced and real CG officers around the country are leaving in droves due to their lack of faith in the management – only a fool would accept to be the fall guy in an untenable situation. I feel sorry for those who are left to take the blame – bickering in the Public eye does nothing to further any cause – so please be sensible – (end of lecture)

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  20. I’m more than happy to put my name to my own personal comments. I’m a former Coastguard Watch Manager at MRCC Swansea, MRCC Milford Haven, and also Search & Rescue Officer at RCC New Zealand. I know I’m qualified to speak…..and I’m able to do it openly!

    I’m working through this particular thread…There are a number of points that I would like to challenge if I may?

    anonymouse says:
    March 28, 2013 at 1:38 am

    “…..I have concerns,”

    I do too ! What are yours?

    Are the concerns of anonymouse to do with Dennis O’Connor (who I can verify is in receipt of information from Serving Coastguards, Serving CRO’s, Former Coastguards Managers (not me….much higher!), & MP’s!….Or are your concerns pertinent to the Coastguard closure program? My concerns reflect those reported by the Transport Select Committee and former colleagues who are still serving, but unable to express their opinions in the current climate.

    I think ultimately the majority of us want to see the same thing.
    Unfortunately for the MCA, that opinion differs considerably from theirs. But that’s allowed isn’t it?

    Best Wishes

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  21. I’d say my concern is that the entire ’cause,’ as in, the fight the save our coastguards, is turning into a complete and utter farce when words like ‘cover up’ are being used to explain why the MCA didn’t create a press release for, what you will be able to confirm, is a routine job.

    I’m also concerned that Coastguard SOS would readily believe such a story, it sounds so far removed from a typical coastguard response that it really should have raised questions about it’s credibility before making multiple posts on twitter & facebook.

    ah, but of course, the communications network was down….

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  22. My name is not anonymouse, its Mike Hillen I’m not a Coastguard just a member of the public, that is very concerned about the 50% closure of the UK’s Coastguard MRCC, I support Dennis O’Connor and the Coastguard_SOS Campaign, I post on facebook and twitter incidents as I find them,if I am proved wrong after the event all well and good, but mark my words there is a tragedy about to happen due to these closures, and lack of staff in Coastguard Rescue Coordination Centres, I will take no pleasure in telling everyone “I told you so” but say it I will.

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  23. Thanks for the response ‘anonymouse’.

    To clarify, my concerns are surrounding the implementation of the closure program.
    Among other things, more recently 9 out 13 CRO’s from the Walney Coastguard Rescue Service have stepped down including the SO & DSO. All 9 cited the same reasons for leaving. They feel they ….”have been put in a position where we cannot operate safely for a variety of reasons and have no confidence in the local or regional management”

    I doubt this was a decision that was taken lightly, and something like this happening is totally unheard of !

    I’m sure you’d agree this is a problem, and when those emotions and sentiments are replicated around the coast of the UK, then there is potential for a very serious problem indeed.

    Another concern of mine is the obvious staffing crisis that does exist within the Coastguard.
    Of course it’s natural to assume that staff would leave ahead of time, but in my opinion, that should’ve been foreseen and factored in.
    It appears not to have been.

    I can assure you my concerns are for the end user of the Service, but also my former colleagues who I know are working extremely hard under incredible pressures.
    I salute them!

    Dennis isn’t a nutcase I can assure you! He is a very well intentioned member of the public fighting to keep a service in the UK. Aint nothing nutty about that!
    It was an MP who contacted Dennis. Everything he has worked with has been in good faith. Don’t attack the guy ‘anonymousely’ !!!

    Incidentally, Dennis had nothing to do with the Walney resignations!

    Best Wishes

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  24. I would never have thought Dennis had anything to do with the resgnation of those CRO’s. Indeed there is obviously a serious issue there that needs to be addressed.
    I think it’s a pity those members who have resigned weren’t more specific in their statement regarding ‘operating safely’, is it an insurance issue? PPE? feeling that their local MRCC can’t provide them with nescessary back up?

    No doubt he is a good, decent genuine chap, but I think in this instance the old idea of ‘If it sounds too good to be true…..’ applies here, and failure of the coastguard SOS group to remind themselves of that idea before making sweeping accusations has made them look very foolish indeed, IMO of course…

    I have to say that I was of the impression that the plan was to keep all mrcc’s open until the moc had been thorughly tested, and that was a plan I supported. The idea of introducing new technology to the MRCC’s was also an idea I considered important for the future.
    I am utterly perplexed that clyde and forth have closed down while the MOC is reported as being barely fitted with desks, never mind staffed.

    Another way of looking at it is to say, if they (belfast and stornoway) can run without the MOC now, why can’t they continue to run without the MOC? surely that would save some money too! anyway we are getting somewhat removed from the originl point, whch I think i’ve made more than enough now!

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  25. and before anyone has a heart attack, I do not think the MOC should not open purely on the basis that there hasn’t been any notable incident since the closure of clyde.

    Cleary its advantageous to have 3 sites covering an area of sea, rather than 2, regardless of where they are located.

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