RNLI welcomes coastguard station news
PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 May 2011
WESTON RNLI has welcomed news that the Government is reassessing plans to axe half of the UK’s coastguard stations.
The proposals, announced in December, included cutting the number of stations from 19 to nine, leaving only three open on a 24-hour basis, with two main hubs operating throughout the night.
Under these new plans Swansea’s Coastguard station, which works closely with Weston RNLI, would cease night-time cover.
However campaigners were given renewed hope last week after Transport Minister Philip Hammond said the proposals could be scaled back.
A spokesman for Weston RNLI said the organisation ‘works extremely closely with HM Coastguard to save lives at sea’.
She said: “The proposed reduction in the number of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres is significant and the RNLI has therefore looked closely at the way search and rescue coordination and will operate.”
In total 99 per cent of launch requests for the RNLI come from the coastguard and the life-saving organisation, whose Weston branch has been called out on nine shouts already this year, said it would back the changes as long as it did not affect rescue efforts.
The spokesman added: “Provided that the new shape of the HM Coastguard enables the RNLI and other search and rescue agencies to respond at least as fast and as effectively as we do at present, then we will accept their judgement and shape our operations around this new model working as we always do to save people whose lives are at risk on the sea.
“However, we feel more work needs to be done by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to determine the details of these proposals, and the RNLI’s response reflects this need.”