Saturday, 31 December 2011

MARITIME AND COASTGUARD AGENCY WELCOMES RECOGNITION IN THE QUEEN’S NEW YEAR HONOURS LIST

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would like to congratulate Mark Rodaway, Wendy Wood and Paul Kelly who were honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. All received their awards for their contribution to Maritime Safety.

Mark Rodaway, the
Rescue Coordinator Centre Manager at Portland Coastguard, has been awarded the OBE. He has served as a coastguard for 22 years and was involved in an extensive number of search and rescue incidents, particularly the MSC Napoli in 2007.

Mark said:

"I am delighted. To have your work recognised in this way is an absolute honour. Although the award is a personal one, I hope it is considered a reflection of both Her Majesty’s Coastguard and the exceptional team at Portland Coastguard.”

Wendy Wood has been awarded the MBE. She has worked as a Coastal Operations Specialist working from the MCA headquarters in
Southampton for the past 12 years. Wendy has worked closely with the Coastguard Rescue Service, in particular developing the Coastguard Rescue Service Injury Compensation Scheme.

Wendy said:
"I am delighted and touched to receive this award. It is a privilege to work in support of the Coastguard Rescue Service, and to receive an award for this work is a great honour."

Paul Kelly, a Coastguard Rescue Officer in the Crosby Team, has been awarded the MBE. He has worked as a volunteer for 14 years.

Paul said:
 "I feel very proud and privileged that my service to Her Majesty’s Coastguard has been recognised in this way. None of my achievements would have been possible without the team I serve with and of which I am proud to be a part.”

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:

"I am absolutely delighted that once again the dedication and complete professionalism of staff within the Agency have been recognised by the awards to Mark, Wendy and Paul. Absolutely well deserved and many congratulations.”
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Notes to Editors




For further information please contact
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office, on:
(023) 8032 9401

Press releases and further information about the Agency is available on the Web at www.dft.gov.uk/mca

Friday, 30 December 2011

COASTGUARDS ASSIST ATLANTIC ROWERS

Falmouth Coastguard are assisting the Azores Coastguard with the search and rescue of two Swedish nationals aboard the rowing boat ‘2 Friends’; which is taking part in the  Woodvale Trans-Atlantic challenge from the Canary Islands to Barbados.

Falmouth Coastguard received notification from the organisers Woodvale at , that the rowing boat ‘2 Friends’ was experiencing difficulties and had lost both oars. The boat is 1,100 nautical miles south west of the Azores.

Terry Collins, Watch Manager, Falmouth Coastguard, says:

 “We understand that one of the rowers was washed overboard but is now back in the boat. The weather conditions on scene are 20 – 35 knots from the east with large seas. We have made contact with the rowers and through a broadcast to shipping a merchant container vessel ‘Maj Danielsen’ is making its way to the rowers, the vessel’s expected time of arrival is approximately 6am tomorrow morning (UK time).  Regular communications is being maintained with the rowers via satellite phone and the rowing boat has two 406 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) on board, one of which has been activated to allow an accurate position update.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

PLANS FINALISED TO REMOVE CARGO FROM GENMAR COMPANION

Plans to remove the cargo of 54,304 tonnes of Vacuum  Gas Oil from the merchant vessel ‘Genmar Companion’ have now been finalised. The transfer will start on 31 December 2011 (weather permitting).

The vessel has been sheltering off the Copeland Islands at the entrance to Belfast Lough since 16 December. It was 40 miles west of Tory Island, Co. Donegal, on its journey from Rotterdam to New York, when the Master reported a crack on its upper deck. This crack did not appear to extend to any of the oil cargo holding structures but, as a precautionary measure, the vessel’s Master chose to seek both shelter and advice before continuing passage.

The Bermudan-flagged product tanker made its way to the Lough to enable surveyors to inspect the ship. The inspection, by the owners, a representative of the classification society (American Bureau of Shipping) and the MCA took place on 18 December.

Following this inspection all parties agreed that, as a precautionary measure, the cargo should be removed and the ship repaired. As there are no shore reception facilities at Belfast Harbour for a tanker of this size the only option is to transfer the cargo to another vessel (known as Ship To Ship Transfer).

Preparations for this transfer have been underway for several days and stringent safeguards will be observed throughout the operation to assure the safety of the crew, the environment and other vessels in the area.    

Following the transfer of the cargo to the vessel ‘BW Seine’ the ‘Genmar Companion’ will enter Belfast Harbour for repairs.

Hugh Shaw, The Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention said:

“Since the ‘Genmar Companion’ arrived at Belfast Lough I have been working closely with a number of parties including representatives from the Owners and Charterers, Belfast Harbour and the Northern Ireland Environment Group chaired by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

“We are all agreed that transferring the cargo in the Lough is the most sensible course of action. Although this is a fairly routine operation, it would not normally be carried out in the current location.

“This ship to ship transfer will be carried out by Fendercare Marine and the process is expected to take approximately 24-36 hours.”

Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, has been keeping a close eye on the situation.  He said
“I have been actively seeking reassurance that there is no threat to our marine environment from this tanker. My officials will be fully engaged with the MCA and the Secretary of State’s Representative until the Genmar Companion is safely moored in Belfast for repairs.”


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Notes to Editors

  1. Follow us on Twitter. Find us at MCA_media
  2. The GENMAR COMPANION remains at anchor in position 54 42.27N: 005 34.56W, outside Belfast Harbour limits, Belfast Lough.
  3. Fendercare Marine is one of the world's leading suppliers of marine equipment and services. (www.fendercare.com).  They have efficiently and safely undertaken many hundreds of Ship to Ships transfer operations both in UK harbours and within designated locations off the UK coast.
  4. A Temporary Exclusion Zone will be implemented for the Ship To Ship transfer operation.
  5. Seventeen Environment Groups were established across the UK after the Sea Empress oil spill incident off Milford Haven in 1996. The purpose of these groups is to provide environmental and public health advice in the event of a marine pollution emergency.  The Northern Ireland Environment Group is chaired by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and has representatives from DARD Fisheries Division, Food Standards Agency and the Public Health Authority.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

FISHING VESSEL SINKS NEAR FALMOUTH

Two crew members of a fishing vessel were recovered by another fishing vessel four miles east of Falmouth this evening after it sank in Gerrans Bay.  One crew member is seriously ill and has been transferred to Treliske Hospital in Truro.

Falmouth Coastguard were informed of the incident at 10.13 pm by the fishing vessel ‘Lauren Kate’, who witnessed the ‘Heather Anne’ sink and called mayday.  The ‘Lauren Kate’ recovered two crew from the water.  Falmouth Coastguard sent the rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose to the scene, along with requesting the launch of both Falmouth lifeboats.  Once on scene, the helicopter winched one casualty and transferred him to Treliske Hospital.  The second man was brought ashore to Mevagissey by lifeboat and transferred to a waiting ambulance.  The second lifeboat then proceeded to the last known position of the fishing vessel to check for any debris.

Andy Cattrell, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager said:

“We have no indications of why the fishing vessel sank in Gerrans Bay earlier this evening.  The seriously ill casualty has now been transferred to hospital and the second casualty is said to be cold and wet but otherwise well.  We would like to thank the crew of the fishing vessel Lauren Kate for their speedy assistance in locating and recovering the two crew from the water and for making the mayday call.”

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

ATLANTIC ROWERS RESCUED FROM LIFE RAFT

At yesterday, Falmouth Coastguard received an alert from an emergency locator beacon in the Atlantic and coordinated the rescue of two rowers from a life raft.

Falmouth Coastguard received the alert from 480 miles south west of the Canary Islands from the UK registered beacon belonging to the Atlantic Challenge rowing boat PS Vita. The race organisers also confirmed that they had lost polling contact with PS Vita just after . 

Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area but the nearest vessel which could provide assistance was the Bahamian registered cruise ship Crystal Serenity approximately 120 miles from the location of the alert.

The Crystal Serenity turned back and proceeded at speed through the night to the position and within seven miles of the position they spotted a red flare.  Shortly afterwards at about 6am they located the two rowers in their life raft who were recovered on board the cruise ship. 

The rowers are a Dutch and a British National. The PS Vita is a 7.3 metre ocean rowing vessel with two people onboard taking part in a Woodvale Trans-Atlantic challenge from the Canary Islands to Barbados.  The two rowers are reported to be uninjured despite at least ten hours in their life raft. Conditions on scene were 25 knots wind with a three metre swell.




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Sunday, 11 December 2011

TWO MEN WASHED ASHORE AFTER ABANDONING KAYAKS

Two kayakers were given medical attention this evening after abandoning their kayaks whilst out at sea off Morfa Nefyn and spending three hours in the water trying to make it back to shore.

North Wales Ambulance Control contacted Holyhead Coastguard at 10.06 pm to report that a member of the public had called to inform them that two kayakers had knocked on their door asking if they could come inside to warm up after being in the water, and that they potentially needed medical attention.  Holyhead Coastguard sent the Porthdinllaen Coastguard Rescue Team to meet the casualties to find out what had happened and assist in locating their kayaks.


Once on scene, the coastguard rescue team reported back to the Operations Room that the two male kayakers (one aged 23 and one aged 24) had set out from Morfa Nefyn beach at 7pm, had gone out approximately half a mile and then panicked, abandoned the kayaks and been washed ashore.  When they finally made it ashore just before 10pm, they knocked on the door of a nearby house to ask for help and an ambulance was called.  The coastguard rescue team spoke to the two casualties and the kayaks were recovered. 

Barry Priddis, Holyhead Coastguard Watch Manager said:

“Although this incident contains a catalogue of errors that we would warn against, the fact that these two kayakers were both wearing lifejackets undoubtedly saved their lives tonight.  We always advise members of the public not to go out on the water in conditions or distances that are beyond their capability, and if they do find themselves in such a situation, to call the Coastguard and ask for help.  Attempting to swim ashore is very dangerous, especially with outside temperatures as they are at the moment and had these two not been wearing lifejackets which kept them afloat we could be looking at a very different outcome.”

Friday, 9 December 2011

SEVEN SEAMEN RESCUED AFTER FALMOUTH COASTGUARD PICKS UP EMERGENCY BEACON SIGNAL

Falmouth Coastguard have been working with coastguard colleagues in Spain, France and the USA during the early hours of this morning to assist the crew of a small cargo ship, ‘Florece’ which was in collision with the chemical tanker ‘Afrodite’.
The incident happened at 3.30 this morning. Following the collision, the crew of the cargo ship took to their liferafts, whilst their ship sank. The chemical tanker sustained little damage and was not taking water. All seven crew, who are a mixture of Russian, Polish and Ukranian nationalities, have been rescued by a container vessel ‘Ocean Titan’ .
Falmouth Coastguard were alerted to the plight of the crew when the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was set off as their vessel began to sink. The Florece was 240 miles south-south-west of Lands End at the time of the incident and was therefore within the UK’s search and rescue region. Falmouth Coastguard used ‘long range information tracking’ to locate the nearest ship to the position given. When they spoke to the master of the ship, ‘Afrodite’ he informed them that he had been in collision with the cargo vessel ‘Florece’ and that the crew had abandoned to liferafts. The Afrodite had attempted to deploy its fast rescue craft but had been unsuccessful due to the sea swell. During this time the American coastguard had also received a distress signal from the Florece and reported this to Falmouth Coastguard.
Falmouth Coastguard then used ‘enhanced group calling’ to make a request for assistance to any ships in the area. They also discussed the incident with the Spanish coastguard who began to make preparations for sending a helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. The ‘Maersk Kampala’ and the ‘Ocean Titan’ responded and the Ocean Titan was able to go the scene to rescue the crew. All seven crew are now safe on board the Ocean Titan with no medical assistance required.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Terry Collins says:
“I am pleased to report that all seven crew of the Florece are safe and well which is an excellent outcome. This was an internationally coordinated response with coastguards from Spain, France, the USA and the UK joining forces with the crew of the Ocean Titan to ensure the safe recovery of the seafarers. Satellite technology and modern communications made all the difference with this incident, meaning that we were able to pinpoint the location of the sinking ship, call the nearest vessel and coordinate a response within minutes.”

Thursday, 8 December 2011

TANKER OWNERS PROSECUTED FOR POLLUTION IN SOLENT

301-11                                                                                             8 December 2011

At a hearing today at Southampton Magistrates Court, the owners of a tanker were found guilty under UK maritime pollution legislation.  The fine and costs amounted to a total of £95,000. Overnight on the 10th and 11th January 2011, yellow waxy balls of an unknown material washed ashore on the beaches of East and West Wittering.  Samples were collected by the Environment Agency for analysis.The Maritime and Coastguard Agency received information of problems onboard a Panamanian registered tanker called Pretty Time.  The vessel was boarded and inspected by MCA Port State Control Inspectors on the 25th January 2011.  The inspection showed there had been problems in the handling of a previous cargo of Palm Oil.  Small yellow waxy balls of material were seen scattered about the deck.  Samples of the cargoes were taken and sent for testing by the Environment Agency. Also taken were copies of the ship’s logs and documentation.A backtrack analysis showed that the Palm Oil that washed up on the beaches of the Solent on the 10/11th January 2011 originated from the Outer Nab Anchorage at a time when the Pretty Time logs showed tank cleaning was in progress.  Laboratory analysis showed that samples from the beaches and Pretty Time were the same.The evidence showed that the tank cleaning residues had not been disposed of in the approved manner.

District Judge Lucie said: Taking into account all of the evidence I am satisfied so that I am sure that the polluting material came from the Pretty Time and I therefore find the case against the Defendant proved.

Douglas MacDonald, Head of Environmental & Emergency Response Standards at the MCA stated: This is a timely reminder to all ship owners, ship managers and seafarers to ensure that residues of cargoes are disposed of in the approved manner. We would like to thank the Environment Agency for their help and co-operation in the investigation of this incident.

Note to Editor It is permissible to discharge Palm Oil at sea in accordance with Marpol.   The conditions are:- a)    The discharge is through an underwater outlet;b)    The ships speed is not less than 7 knots;c)    The depth of water is not less than 25 metres; andd)   The discharge is more than 12 miles from land

Friday, 2 December 2011

MARITIME AND COASTGUARD AGENCY ACHIEVES SILVER INVESTORS IN PEOPLE AWARD

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are pleased to announce that Investors in People (IiP) have recognised our commitment to people in the MCA with their coveted silver award. 
 
After visiting 23 locations, interviewing 15% of our staff and volunteers and holding detailed discussions with our senior managers, the results were presented to our Executive Board by the IiP Managing Assessor yesterday.  The MCA now joins 322 organisations out of the 40,000 in the scheme who have received the silver award.
 
The MCA was particularly praised for its learning and development activities, culture of continuous improvement, the way we share knowledge throughout the organisation and our culture of equality and diversity.
 
MCA Chief Executive, Sir Alan Massey said:
 
"I am absolutely thrilled that our commitment to good people practice, and the pride our people feel in working for this organisation have been recognised with this prestigious award.  Our people are genuinely our greatest asset, and it is hugely qualifying to receive formal endorsement of the way we are striving to develop them and to improve the organisation that they support so loyally and effectively.”

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Notes to Editors
  1. Launched in 1991, Investors in People is the UK's leading people management standard. Its a business improvement tool designed to help all kinds of organisations develop performance through their people.
In April 2010, strategic ownership transferred to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills who are now responsible for developing and maintaining its integrity.  
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