Coastguards ‘struggling to manage’

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency figures show just 10 workers in posts at Liverpool ' compared to a recommended 18.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency figures show just 10 workers in posts at Liverpool ' compared to a recommended 18.

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Lives will be put at risk if the staffing levels of a coastguard station are not addressed immediately, a union has claimed.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency figures show Liverpool Coastguard station should have 18 full time workers, but only 10 are in a post.

Keith Roberts, a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union at Liverpool Coastguard, says the base for all of the Fylde coast’s sea rescues is struggling to cope.

He said: “The shift pattern is a 12 hour day shift and 12 hour night shift and at this time you should have a minimum of four on days and four during the night, but more often than not they can’t reach that.

“What could happen is lives could be put at risk.”

The station is set to close in 2015 as part of the future structure, which will see operations handled at a central base in Hampshire.

A spokesman for the MCA said: “Currently, where a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is experiencing reduced staffing levels, established ‘pairing’ arrangements are used to maintain the same geographical cover and quality of search and rescue (SAR) service the public rightly expects.

“Regarding Liverpool specifically, pairing arrangements enable support to be available through a fixed link from the MRCC in Holyhead.”

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