Tuesday, 21 October 2014

STRONG WINDS BATTER PARTS OF UK

As parts of the UK continue to be affected by gale-force winds today, the Coastguard is urging people to take extra care. 

Gusts of up to 70mph have been reported in some coastal areas and combined with the stormy seas, conditions are treacherous. The Met Office reports that the strong winds are expected to last throughout much of the day.

Liverpool Coastguard has this morning dealt with a number of vessels that have broken free from their moorings in the strong winds. 

Paul Parkes from Liverpool Coastguard says: 

“The crashing waves may be spectacular to watch but they are also extremely dangerous. The Coastguard’s advice is simple: don’t take risks. But if you do get into difficulty, or spot someone who might be in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Monday, 20 October 2014

FALMOUTH COASTGUARD OPERATIONS CENTRE JOINS NATIONAL NETWORK

Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) is to become part of the new Coastguard national network for the very first time this week.

Work has been carried out at the search and rescue coordination centre at Pendennis Point, upgrading the technology and introducing new systems. This means Falmouth CGOC will be connected to the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Hampshire and other Coastguard stations around the country, which will be able to offer mutual support during busy periods.

From Saturday 1 November 2014, Falmouth CGOC and the new national network will start to take on operations from Brixham Coastguard.


The changes to Her Majesty’s Coastguard will see the NMOC and 10 other CGOCs around the UK work together to manage the workload. There will be no reduction in rescue resources. The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue units will be unaffected.

James Instance, Maritime Operations Controller at Falmouth CGOC, said:

“The public won’t notice any difference to the way search and rescue missions are responded to. If you call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or issue a mayday broadcast, we will still be here to help you.

“The only change is that we’ll have a new national network that will be able to oversee and assist with operations around the whole of the UK. Here at Falmouth CGOC we’re now part of this network, so we can call upon help from our fellow Coastguards elsewhere in the country, and also in turn help them out if needed.”

Peter Davies was manager at Brixham Coastguard and has now taken up a new role at the NMOC. He said:

“This new state-of-the-art network will ensure that we are better prepared and will improve how we manage the workload. It’s key to remember though that the changes affect how we deliver the coordination to search and rescue incidents, but the rescue teams in your community are unaffected. There will still be the same number of lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Teams, helicopters and other rescue resources.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Brixham Coastguard, who have served the community with the upmost professionalism over many years. I am pleased that some are staying with the Coastguard and have relocated to roles elsewhere.”

The new national network is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

Friday, 17 October 2014

APPEAL TO OWNER OF GROUNDED YACHT TO CONTACT COASTGUARD

Coastguards have issued an urgent appeal to the new owner of a yacht that washed ashore at Seaton Harbour, Devon, earlier today (Friday 17 October) to get in touch.

At around 10am this morning a call was received from a member of the public that the vessel, the Yacht Louise - a 25ft to 30ft Hurley 20 with a blue hull - was aground at Culverhole Point.
Signs of recent occupancy and activity on-board have raised concerns that the yacht’s owner may have gone overboard.  Coastguards and Devon and Cornwall police have so far been unable to contact him. 

The Lyme Regis inshore lifeboat, the Sidmouth independent lifeboat and the Lyme Regis and Sidmouth Coastguard Rescue team as well as Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106 are continuing to search the area.


Steven Mann, Coastguard in charge of coordinating the search, said: “Given the uncertainty of the situation, we are very keen to hear from the owner of this yacht if he is safe and well.  In the meantime we will continue to carry out a detailed search of the area where the vessel is likely to have drifted.”

Update:  Friday,17:15 - the area has been thoroughly covered but  the search has now been suspended, pending further information. Enquiries into the possible whereabouts of the yacht owner will continue.

'MAKE A DIFFERENCE' IN NORTH YORKSHIRE - VOLUNTEER AS A COASTGUARD

This October, we are all being asked to ‘Make A Difference’ and what better way to do so than by volunteering with the Coastguard Rescue Service.

‘Make A Difference’ is a month long campaign by the charity Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to encourage more people to volunteer.

Her Majesty's Coastguard is the emergency service responsible for coordinating maritime search and rescue in the UK. One rescue resource often called into action is the Coastguard Rescue Teams. There are 347 of these teams in the UK, made up of more than 3,200 volunteers.

The Redcar, Robin Hood’s Bay, Skinningrove, Staithes and Whitby teams are currently looking for new recruits. In the past year, the teams have collectively been involved in more than 200 incidents, ranging from capsized boats to people stuck on cliffs and water rescues.

So what's it like to be a Coastguard Rescue Officer?

Here's Keith Gregory, Deputy Station Officer with the Staithes Coastguard Rescue Team to tell us why..

"Since becoming a Coastguard Rescue Officer I have found that my life has been enhanced in a number of ways. 

Of course the obvious thing that everyone will probably immediately think of is that of saving lives. Knowing that you have played a role in those outcomes is, of course, a wonderful thing. I am sure that we all hope that will be the case when we join up and I  have been in that position several times since joining. 

There's much more to the role than that though.

Becoming part of a well trained, close knit team, where everyone trusts and supports one another, is a wonderful feeling. Everyone plays an important role in maintaining the team ethics. 

Not only do we work as part of a small local team, but also a great deal of our jobs involve surrounding teams throughout the sector. Therefore there is also good relationships with all teams throughout the sector. 

As well as other coastguard teams it is not unusual for us to work closely with other emergency services including: Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade, Helicopter Rescue teams,Mountain Rescue etc. 

There is vast opportunity to train and gain qualifications in Rope Rescue skills, Water Rescue and also Land Search Management as well as gaining First Aid certificates and opportunities to gain promotions. From the first time you achieve a basic level skill, right up to technician level the feeling of achievement is a good one.

Throughout this training there is a vast amount of support and encouragement available, which all helps it be achievable. 

Currently I am a deputy station officer and that is a role that I have been able to enjoy greatly. It means supporting new trainees and all team members alike and I am able to aid with a lot of the training. That is something I particularly enjoy, along with cementing strong team relationships. 

Some of the things that I have done during my time as a CRO include:
  • Climbing down a cliff to rescue people who are trapped by incoming tides or who have fallen etc Sometimes I have been the 'cliffman' and other times assisted at the top of the cliff
  • Being winched in to a helicopter with a casualty
  • Preparing landing sites for helicopters
  • Co-ordinating searches for missing people
  • Assisting in the carrying off of injured persons from cliff paths etc to waiting ambulances
  • Recording information from boats that have been recovered by the RNLI
Of course there is a lot of commitment needed at times. When you are sitting down to Christmas dinner and the pager goes off then you have to go. If you are fast asleep at 3am you could find yourself awoken by the pager and again we just go. Commitment is also needed for the training programme. However, the positive side of that commitment is the feeling that you have achieved something and are making a difference, however large or small, to people who need our help. It definitely changes you as a person. 

There's a greater sense of self worth from very early on. I would highly recommend joining."

If you're interested in applying, please email Chris Coulter chris.coulter@mcga.gov.uk or telephone 01947 602 107.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN NORTH YORKSHIRE? BECOME A COASTGUARD

This October, we are all being asked to ‘Make A Difference’ and what better way to do so than by volunteering with the Coastguard Rescue Service.

‘Make A Difference’ is a month long campaign by the charity Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to encourage more people to volunteer.

Her Majesty's Coastguard is the emergency service responsible for coordinating maritime search and rescue in the UK. One rescue resource often called into action is the Coastguard Rescue Teams. There are 347 of these teams in the UK, made up of more than 3,200 volunteers.

The Redcar, Robin Hood’s Bay, Skinningrove, Staithes and Whitby teams are currently looking for new recruits. In the past year, the teams have collectively been involved in more than 200 incidents, ranging from capsized boats to people stuck on cliffs and water rescues.
Water rescue

Chris Coulter, Senior Coastal Operations Officer at Whitby, said:

“Coastguard Rescue Officers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to respond at a moment's notice. They're trained in first aid and a variety of rescue techniques, from water, mud, rope and cliff rescues, to search methods and assisting helicopter operations.

“People across Yorkshire are privileged to have these rescue teams which form an integral part of their communities. They respond to callouts every day of the year, in all weathers and often at unsocial hours to assist people in distress. You’ll be given regular training, and all we ask in return is that you are situated within 20 minutes of the Coastguard base, and be available to respond at most times.”

But it’s not just rescues that the teams get involved with. As a Coastguard Rescue Officer, you may also spend time educating people in coastal safety. This preventative work includes visiting schools and shows as well as patrolling the coast to advise people of the dangers.
Staithes Coastguard Rescue Team

Keith Gregory, Deputy Station Officer at Staithes Coastguard Rescue Team, said:

“Since becoming a Coastguard Rescue Officer I have found that my life has been enhanced in a number of ways.

“Of course there is a lot of commitment needed at times. When you are sitting down to Christmas dinner and the pager goes off then you have to go. If you are fast asleep at 3am and the pager goes off, again we just go. However, the positive side of that commitment is the feeling that you have achieved something and are making a difference, however large or small, to people who need our help.

“It definitely changes you as a person. There's a greater sense of self-worth from very early on. I would highly recommend joining.”

For more information, please email Chris Coulter chris.coulter@mcga.gov.uk or telephone 01947 602 107.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

EXERCISE SABRINA - PRESS STATEMENT

Jointly with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at Clevedon on 16th October BP Shipping is taking part in an Oil Spill Response exercise, to test North Somerset’s Oil Pollution Plan and the UK’s national emergency response plan, which seek to protect our coastline.

Much thought and preparation goes into these essential plans, but an actual exercise could highlight areas for possible improvement.

While this will include local deployment of people and equipment, it will not involve a vessel or any escape of oil. We hope and believe that there will be no disruption to residents and businesses, and thank them for their understanding during this short test of plans and processes.

Further information:

Robert Wine, Group Press Officer, +44 (0) 20 7496 4827

MINISTER AWARDS MCA’S TRAINEE OF THE YEAR

The “hard work and dedication” of a 25-year old Merchant Navy officer cadet has been recognised with an award that will be presented by the UK Shipping Minister at a ceremony in London today, Wednesday 15 October 2014.

Jonty Turnbull of Blackpool and the Fylde College, who was serving on-board the Foreland Shipping-owned vessel, MV Hartland Point, is the 2014 winner of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) Officer Trainee of the Year Award.

The award will be presented at Haberdashers Hall, London, by the Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport, whosaid,"I am delighted to attend the ceremony today. It is so important that we celebrate these achievements, not just for the individuals involved, but to ensure we all share in the pride and grow through the success of all the winners. The esteem in which the UK maritime sector is held worldwide is itself a celebration of our maritime heritage - past, present and future."

The award aims to encourage and recognise quality within the maritime industry, which is hugely important to the UK economy, contributing around £14 billion per year. An essential component of the UK’s success in this sector are the excellent maritime training programmes available to new seafarers.

Nominations are made by nautical colleges alongside the trainee’s Sponsoring Company. The winner is decided by a panel of judges, which includes representatives from the MCA and other industry figures.

The Master of the MV Hartland Point, Captain Kevin Foulkes, said: “I am delighted that Jonty Turnbull has been recognised for this award, which is very well deserved. Jonty has currently stepped up to do the Second Officer role for a period of time and has taken this very much in his stride. He continues to impress colleagues with his hard work and dedication to the job.”

In its citation, the judging panel said that they were “very impressed with Jonty and his achievements” and that, “his drive and enthusiasm for the Merchant Navy really stood out.”

Julie Arnold, Training and Cadet Manager from Bibby Ship Management said: “I am really proud of Jonty as he was an outstanding Trainee Officer to mentor throughout his three year cadetship. He has worked relentlessly and we are proud of the fact that he represented Bibby Line Limited so well! We aim to provide excellent training to all our Trainee Officer’s to the highest standards and Jonty’s MCA Trainee Office of the Year Award highlights the fact that we’re on the right lines.”

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the MCA, will attend the ceremony. He said: “Having high-calibre officers is vital to the future health of the UK shipping industry. At the Maritime and Coastguard Agency we are committed to recognising and promoting excellence and are therefore delighted that this year’s award is going to such a deserving candidate. I wish Jonty every success for what I am sure will be a very impressive career.”