The coastguard is at breaking point this summer according to a whistleblower
A dossier from a serving coastguard has been presented to Parliament’s Transport Select Committee by a campaign group that has repeatedly highlighted concerns about the mass closure of coastguard stations.
It claims this has left the emergency service chronically undermanned.
Coastguard SOS national co-ordinator Dennis O’Connor told committee chairman and Labour MP Louise Ellman in a letter: “The officer believes their station is in a critical situation and is not able to safely and effectively undertake its role.
“Further, the officer believes that the service is at breaking point now more than at any time previously.”
● Underqualified personnel left in charge of specialist equipment and running search and rescue desks.
● Understaffing “often masked by the movement of under-qualified personnel to make up the numbers”.
● Bullying, stress, low morale and difficulty over staff retention. Mr O’Connor called on the committee to launch a “new and thorough investigation” to ensure HM Coastguard can discharge its duties without impediment or compromise.
The officer believes that the service is at breaking point now
Dennis O’Connor, Coastguard SOS national co-ordinator
Last year serving rescue officers and lifeboat crew complained that lives were being put at risk because the service had become dangerously overstretched. They spoke out after 12 people died in beach tragedies in just 10 days in August.
The mass closure of coastguard stations has been blamed for leaving the emergency service chronically undermanned. Under the Coalition, nine of the country’s 19 coastguard stations were axed.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The mass closure of coastguard stations has brought concerns for holidaymakers' safety
Mr O’Connor added: “The ‘modernisation’ of HM Coastguard has cost millions of pounds and a significant number of experienced staff were lost as a result of it.”
A spokeswoman for Ms Ellman said yesterday: “The chairman has taken note of the concerns raised in the letter and will consult the committee once Parliament returns after recess.”
Beautiful British Seascapes Mon, March 20, 2017
Photographer Alessio Putzu spent two years touring the UK's coastline to capture the most magnificent scenery.
Caters News Agency 1 of 12
Neist Point Lighthouse, Scotland
A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We are very proud of our Coastguards, both our full-time staff and volunteers around the UK coastline, for the work they do to ensure the safety around our coast 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“We are committed to looking after our staff and we take any concern about our coastguard operations very seriously.”