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Old 12 December 2010, 07:19   #1
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Coastguard cuts

Up to half of MRCCs to close and complete privatisation of the search and rescue helicopter fleet

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11978002

Does anyone know who to address concerns to?
Is there a public consultation on any of this?

Tim
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Old 12 December 2010, 07:31   #2
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Someone told me years ago that plans were been looked at with regards to a Eurocoastguard.

have sent you a P/m

Mart
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Old 12 December 2010, 16:12   #3
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Up to half of MRCCs to close and complete privatisation of the search and rescue helicopter fleet

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11978002

Does anyone know who to address concerns to?
Is there a public consultation on any of this?

Tim
The S&R decision goes back to the previous government, and is not really news - the only "development" there being that the "new" government have decides to go ahead with the orginal decision (having been reviewing it for value for money). As I understand it the C.G. helo's already operate under similar arrangements, and I've never heard of anyone complaining, "Oh no they've sent the private guys, I wish they had sent the RAF/Navy instead". Given that the service evolved to rescue military personnel but are almost exclusively used to rescue civillians, it seems fairly logical that at some point someone would question its "ownership". I appreciate that we believe (very patriotically) that our military are the best in the world, and therefore must be the very best guys in the world to pluck you out of trouble. As I understand it many of the private sector crews are ex military, but using newer kit (which may or may not be more suited to its role).

As for the MRCC's being reduced in number... ...in many cases they are so remote from the area covered that any "local knowledge" must be limited (e.g. a call from the sound of Islay would be directed to a guy in Greenock; a call from Shetland goes to Aberdeen etc) so its certainly possible to see how their areas could be enlarged, although unless people are sitting twiddling their thumbs I don't see how you save money on (poorly paid) staff costs by merging sites.

If you are not happy with the proposals then I'd get in touch with your MP. If they are from a coalition party they might have some influence. If they are from the opposition then they may have less! You can of course contact the minister responsible for transport, and anyone else who might listen, but you'll need to have a structured argument as to why the proposals are wrong rather than just "don't upset the status quo".

EDIT: I have a far greater objection to the removal of emergency towing vessels (already decided). If they don't break even then charge vessels who need them sufficient to cover the annual costs. Yes the commercial sector needs to take responsibility but if there are major pollution incidents then it will take more than compensation to make it good.
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Old 12 December 2010, 16:17   #4
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Someone told me years ago that plans were been looked at with regards to a Eurocoastguard.
I'd have thought that is a long way off - the roles and responsibilities must be quite different in different areas? e.g. some places coordination, some places actual rescue (indeed we do some of that - but not lifeboats), some places security / border control etc?
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Old 12 December 2010, 16:39   #5
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We have had a similar change here in Ireland. Our armed forces previously ran the helo rescue services, CHC now perform that role under contract to the CG. I have a keen interest and have to say that the civvie crews are performing some stunning rescues in appalling conditions. If I was in the sh1t, I'd be very relieved to hear that they were looking for me. Also, I like 'em 'cos they gave me a spin

One thing though - the contracted services fly to civil aviation rules and this can have a major impact on rescue parameters. Fuel reserves are one big issue, suitable landing sites is another.

My CG mole occasionally gets wistful for the good ole days when the Green Machines would land in Hell and make it home with their total fuel reserve in the pilot's petrol lighter
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Old 12 December 2010, 18:32   #6
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One of my concerns is in the "search" element of search and rescue.

If the helo is being run by a private company then it's being run for profit. This could mean that they will be less willing to continue a search if they are watching profits, whereas military guys will keep going as long as there is a chance of being found alive.

Is this worry unfounded? I don't think any of us would want profit being put before life.
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Old 13 December 2010, 03:39   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Tim View Post
One of my concerns is in the "search" element of search and rescue.

If the helo is being run by a private company then it's being run for profit. This could mean that they will be less willing to continue a search if they are watching profits, whereas military guys will keep going as long as there is a chance of being found alive.

Is this worry unfounded? I don't think any of us would want profit being put before life.
Northen Tim,
I agree. Search and Rescue is inherently un-cost effective.
T
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Old 13 December 2010, 03:44   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Tim View Post
One of my concerns is in the "search" element of search and rescue.

If the helo is being run by a private company then it's being run for profit. This could mean that they will be less willing to continue a search if they are watching profits, whereas military guys will keep going as long as there is a chance of being found alive.

Is this worry unfounded? I don't think any of us would want profit being put before life.
That all depends on how the contract is structured, they may be paid "by the hour" for certain duties, in which case it would be in their best interest to stay in the air. Knowing how clever HM gov't are in negotiating their contracts........
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Old 13 December 2010, 07:12   #9
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If they work it like here, it's the CG who call the shots as regards search duration. Which means that it's the Conservatives who are deciding how much your wee life is worth in flight time.

No worries then
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Old 13 December 2010, 07:16   #10
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Current Coastguard Helo's are run under contract and we havent heard of any horror stories, so surley expanding this to cover area's where military currently cover should not be a problem..
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Old 13 December 2010, 09:08   #11
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So what are the Seakings getting replaced with, not them little eurocopter things?
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Old 13 December 2010, 09:24   #12
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Helicopters

They will be using Sikorsky S92s which are an awesome piece of kit - they have been used in Outer Hebrides for some time.
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Old 13 December 2010, 09:57   #13
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Well it all worries me....

More and more reliance on charities to do what in essence is a government responsibility to look after our coasts....

At a time when everyone is struggling, reducing front line services when more and more people are holidaying at home.... does seem a bit dangerous.

I understand these are lean times and every area must do their best to reduce costs... but this is front line.
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Old 13 December 2010, 10:57   #14
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More and more reliance on charities to do what in essence is a government responsibility to look after our coasts....
I've never heard the Royal Bank of Scotland described as that...
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Old 13 December 2010, 11:47   #15
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They will be using Sikorsky S92s which are an awesome piece of kit - they have been used in Outer Hebrides for some time.
Lee on Solent have an Agusta, tiny little thing.
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Old 13 December 2010, 13:00   #16
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Search and Rescue helicoptors will be the Sikorsky S92s and will be replacing any Sea Kings currently in use. Anything else used by police and ambulance are seperate and are not part of the privateisation happening in 2012.
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Old 13 December 2010, 13:19   #17
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Search and Rescue helicoptors will be the Sikorsky S92s and will be replacing any Sea Kings currently in use. Anything else used by police and ambulance are seperate and are not part of the privateisation happening in 2012.
Didn't Lee on Solent have a Sikorsky and now have one or two smaller Agustas?
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Old 13 December 2010, 13:32   #18
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Didn't Lee on Solent have a Sikorsky and now have one or two smaller Agustas?
Both Lee (IJ) and Portland (WB) run the Augusta, Great little aircraft but just that Little, nothing like the seaking!! Things however will change when the new contract comes into force.
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Old 13 December 2010, 13:35   #19
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We have just had South Today news tell us it is anticipated 500 jobs will go and 18 stations down to 9 and only three of them are going to be 24hrs a day.

I guess volunteer groups could be busier and needing more money to run
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Old 13 December 2010, 13:36   #20
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I can remember the cries of horror within the Solent SAR community when there was talk of the RN SAR flight based at Lee on the Solent being contracted out to a civilian company.

Truth is the alternative, (Bristows) crewed predominantly by ex servicemen, provided a world class service. Bristows operated very effectively under contract to the Coastguard. The service provided was better than that offered by the ageing Wessex helicopters.

More recently the contract has been taken over by CHC and they too have continued to provide a world class service.

More concerning is the likely closures of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centres and Sub Rescue Centres. Centres such as the one here at Lee on the Solent are often stretched to their limits during the busier periods.

With Fire, Police and Ambulance all taking a hit I guess it was only a matter of time before the Coastguard took a hit too.



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