Stations provide lifeline

Coastguard Station.
Coastguard Station.

The understaffing crisis at the Liverpool coastguard station, which covers the entire Morecambe Bay area, continues, the Public and Commercial Services union says as the latest figures are revealed.

The station was staffed below safe “risk assessed” levels more than one third of the time during 2013, data obtained by the Coastguard SOS campaign group shows.

At its peak in July and August, 63% of the shifts were staffed below minimum levels. Three stations have been closed by the government ahead of a new national operations centre on the south coast being up and running.

Six others – Brixham, Liverpool, Portland, Solent, Swansea and Thames – are earmarked for closure, which the union fears will put lives at risk.

The union remains firmly opposed to the closure plans.

The recent storms and floods in the UK showed the need to retain expert coastguard resources and knowledge in our coastal communities.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Coastguard stations provide a vital lifeline in our coastal communities but the government’s cuts mean invaluable local knowledge and expertise is being lost.Ministers must put an immediate halt to their station closure plans that we continue to believe will put lives at risk.”