Monday, 3 November 2014

Coastguard Staffing Levels Failure Highlights Need for Devolving Control of Services

The SNP has today [Monday] slammed the “abject failure” of the UK Government and highlighted the need for coastguard services to be devolved following the publication of statistics showing critical levels of understaffing at coastguard stations across Scotland

Aberdeen is the worst affected coastguard station across the countries of the UK with 97 per cent of shifts in September being staffed at a level where the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre’s failed to meet the agreed minimum risk assessed level of staff, as revealed by a FOI obtained by the Coastguard SOS campaign from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

The SNP has now said that its call to devolve Coastguard services to Scotland is vital. This call has expert support from UK wide pressure group Coastguard SOS’s with National Coordinator Dennis O’Connor who said powers over the Coastguard must to be passed to Scotland, rather than be left with the “dangerously incompetent” UK Government.

Mr O’Connor added:

“…we now have a situation which is, without question endangering the lives of those who use the coast for recreational or commercial purposes”.

Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central said:

“These latest figures make worrying reading, and demonstrate the abject failure of Westminster’s duty to provide adequate staffing levels to keep the people in our seas safe.

“Scotland’s coastguard services are poorly served by Westminster, and it is no wonder that experts from the SOS Coastguard campaign recognise the need for responsibility in this area to be held by the Scottish Government.

“It is vital that the Scottish Parliament is given the powers Scotland needs to make sure we can properly protect our coasts, rather than putting lives at risk for the sake of a saving a few pounds.”
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