Boost for coastguard campaign

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A CAMPAIGN to save frontline Coastguard services across the Scarborough area has attracted a groundswell of support. Hundreds of residents have signed petition forms - including around 120 people on a sheet in the Evening News reception - to safeguard the future of Humber Coastguard Station.

The petition will be presented to the government in an attempt to reverse the proposals. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have also set up a public meeting for fishermen, skippers and those interested in the sea to debate the plans at Bridlington Spa on Monday, February 21, from 7pm.

The Bridlington-based facility co-ordinates rescues along Scarborough’s coastline, but would no longer provide a 24-hour service under government proposals. The changes would also see the station only operate between 9am to 7pm, with two 24 hour centres in Aberdeen and Portsmouth or Southampton and six sub-centres in areas such as Shetland and Dover covering missions around Scarborough.

Paul Chapman, Humber Coastguard Watch Officer, said the plans represented an extremely worrying situation and has previously invited Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill to their headquarters to explain their work in detail.

He said: “The principal concern of coast users and coastguard operators is that local knowledge, vital to ensuring timely search and rescue response, is discounted in the government’s proposal and delays caused will put people at risk. Humber could be kept as a 24-hour station for more valid reasons than the two proposed stations.

“The number of incidents is only an indicator of the number of times we received a request for assistance.

“This discounts the length of time and the amount of work required to co-ordinate each incident and ignores all the other routine work we do.

“We use the same or similar systems to those used by the other emergency services. The proposals to modernise the Coastguard will not bring any new technology, only long-planned and needed upgrades to system.”

There is also an online petition at www.gopetition.com/petition/42196.html