Now we know how Shetland Coastguard was saved

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, now within the Department for Transport, had planned to run the entire Scottish Coastguard service form a single centre in Aberdeen.

Various political initiatives and campaigns pulled some of the necessary elements of the service back from the brink; with Shetland Coastguard reprieved.

A national newspaper, on Sunday 2nd June, revealed that this was the result of self-interested political pressure.

Then Transport Secretary, Conservative MP, Philip Hammond, was reported as having been ‘angry’ when he was summoned to the presence of the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael MP and told to revise the plans to cut the Coastguard Service¬† – not because of public or environmental safety but because they would prejudice the security of Mr Carmichael’s Westminster seat. He represents Orkney and Shetland.

As it happens, it was no bad decision Aberdeen coastguard, which would have been responsible for Orkney and Shetland  and the sea area including the new oil exploration target of the Clair Ridge, west of Shetland, is having serious problems with retention and recruitment of staff, It is currently operating well under establishment level, as we have reported.

Shetland, on the other hand, is pretty well up to speed and operating well.


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6 Responses to Now we know how Shetland Coastguard was saved

  1. Its only now, several months after the loss of Clyde coastguard that Sea kayakers are starting to feel the true impact of the closure. I’ve noticed far more area’s where there are blind spots than when Clyde was operational.

    The sea area around the Dorus mor, Corryvreckan, Grey dogs, down the west side of Scarba and Jura, they are all blind spots now, I can’t pick up either Belfast or Stornaway stations, this wasn’t the case when clyde was on the job.

    As you can imagine a sea kayaker can only carry a hand held VHF, so we are somewhat limited by the size of our aerial…and thats just not the men. I’d be interested to hear from any yachties to see if they are experiencing the same problems.

    The sea areas mentioned though are on the edge of coverage between Stornaway and belfast and this may have something to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • The coastguard receiving aeriels are not at Stornoway or Belfast. They are spread all across the area, so there should not have been a loss of radio performance if the transfer from Clyde was done properly.
      There is no longer a dedicated radio watch being kept, as commercial ships use a digital calling system. You have to hope that the Coastguard hears you while he is busy doing something else and if you’re on a handheld at wave height that might not be easy for him.
      Things have changed for the worse unfortunately and groups like yours will need to work out their own solutions to continue their sport in safety.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • The same aerial sites Clyde used
      will still be in use, split between Stornoway
      and Belfast Coastguard and someone listening
      from there rather than someone listening to them all
      from Greenock.
      Therefore the blind spots will not change.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Well, well, an MP actually standing up for his constituency/constituents who’d have thought it…..oh wait a minute, isn’t that exactly what they’re supposed to but the vast majority of them don’t???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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