A CAMPAIGNER trying to prevent more sea deaths is urging the Government to reconsider its plans for Coastguard stations.
At present, a number of regional stations, including Liverpool Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre – the operations base for all Fylde coast sea emergencies - are set to close.
The threatened station, which could lose 20 members of staff, co-ordinates RNLI and Coastguard teams along the Lancashire coastline –a job which would be done in Wales if the closure goes ahead.
Chris Jameson, of Coastguard SOS, the pressure group lobbying the Government to re-think its plans, says more lives will be lost if emergency rescue operations are run away from the area.
He said: “There is inevitably going to be delays and more lives lost. With all the seafront regeneration, millions more people will come to Blackpool and it’s a substantial change. As it stands, when you call 999 your call goes to Liverpool, but when that changes, the person answering the phone may not know where you are.”
The Government intends to shut eight maritime stations and use Holyhead station for Fylde coast emergencies.
Mr Jameson’s call came as The Gazette urges people to think about sea safety this summer.
The station has been on strike for one hour every day since Friday in the hope of putting an end to the proposed changes.
Paul Kirby, a member of staff at Liverpool Coastguard, said: “It’s a horrendous decision. We’ve been dead against this since it was announced because calls are going to be made to people in Portsmouth who don’t know the geography of the area.”
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, added: “As a member of the Transport Select Committee, I visited both Falmouth, Clyde and Stornoway coastguard co-ordination centres as part of our inquiry which led to the Government restructuring its proposals.
“There was then a further consultation to decide whether to retain Holyhead in North Wales, or Liverpool.
“It was felt because of the need for capability in the Welsh language due to the place names on the North Wales coast that Holyhead should be retained.”