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  1. Could it be that Shetland Coastguard didn’t task the tug to take charge of this hazard to shipping? If so why not? – after all it was the Shetland community, including salmon farmers, that was instrumental in saving their jobs. Or could it in fact be that use of the ETV was considered quite early on but that under current instructions it is not allowed to be deployed without reference to MCA HQ first and that such a deployment was expressly forbidden when it was suggested to MCA HQ. So perhaps you would be better off putting your question to MCA HQ, rather than criticising local officers without knowing all the facts.
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljq0VlVGCHA
  3. You may have a point on that score, but the pace and scope of the change is much too rapid and severe in one dose. It leaves no wiggle room to make sure the proposals actually work (if at all - see the FiReControl debacle and others) and the timetable is wildly optimistic. All major change projects like this inevitably suffer from delays and this will be no exception, trouble is we could find ourselves in a position where the changes have been partly implemented and then the project is delayed or cancelled and large areas are left without cover. The other problem is that the savings to be made from the proposals are not huge, £5million per annum. What this means is that even slight delays or cost overruns will very quickly mean the whole projects spirals wildly off timescale and budget and yet another public sector project will very quickly go down the pan at enormous cost to the taxpayer. Not going to happen - too expensive. OK so the fact that in 2010 there were 17 occasions on which the kilostream connection with the mainland was cut and that on three of those occasions the link was cut for more than 24 hours (in fact one on 2nd Nov lasted for 44 hours) doesn't matter then? Despite the fact that information received just yesterday under an FOI request states that the MCA will continue to use the existing BT connection (they have no choice) which they believe to be "reliable, resilient and secure" lol! Merely quoting the MCAs own stats back at them and undermining the rationale for their half-baked proposals. Even on their own figures, the proposals as they stand are a complete nonsense and should be completely re-thought. The proposals do not stand up to any basic level of scrutiny.
  4. Interesting statistic from the figures released under FOIA: Excluding London (which is a small station covering the Thames whose status is not in any way changing), Shetland MRCC showed the greatest increase in incidents dealt with from 2009 to 2010, an increase of 13% Belfast was next at 12%.
  5. You are right, it would not have made the slightest bit of difference, in fact, all that the strike has done has made it more likely that this would happen. When the MCA Management tried to run the whole of the UK from the Training Centre at Highcliffe during the strikes, they found that actually they could not. Centralising everything in two MOC's has as much to do with making it easier to do just that and being able to undermine future industrial action as it has to do with any 'resilience.' Radical change has been mooted for years but it was the strike that gave it impetus. The only resilience that is lacking is managements current inability to undermine industrial action, they intend to make sure that doesn't happen in future.
  6. As millie already pointed out in a previous post, there have been numerous BT kilostream failures, something which the MCA refuses to acknowledge: 2009 = 15 failures of which 7 lasted more than 24hrs 2010 = 11 failures of which 5 lasted more than 24hrs Bear also in mind that our CROs (Coastguard Rescue Officers) are primarily alerted by VHF Channel 0 pager so this means that if the radio network is down, the CRO's would have to be called out individually by telephone, assuming the telephone network was not also affected.
  7. Further news from FOIA information received today. As we suspected, MCA intend to use the existing, interruption prone microwave relay links to the UK mainland as the means of carrying radio traffic to and from Shetland. There are no plans for that infrastructure to be improved in any way. They said: "1. It is intended that only existing technologies will be used to enable the future concept of operations – to this end, it is currently the MCA’s understanding that the existing BT infrastructure used to effect our distress monitoring and communications are currently not switched within the BT infrastructure on the Shetland Islands. If this is confirmed by BT this means that all communications from the remote radio sites are sent from the Islands to the mainland before being sent back to Lerwick to the MRCC. Any return comms from an operator based on Shetland necessarily takes the same path in return to the hilltop for broadcast to air. It follows that no change is envisaged in the reliability, resilience or security of the communications infrastructure as a result of moving the core technical equipment (ICCS) off of the Shetland Islands. MCA has no knowledge of the impact of these communications links on the mobile phone networks. In relation to telephone links in general, MCA are not aware of there having been any coincident failures of the ‘kilostream’ (private wire) infrastructure and the public telecommunications network (PSTN). As an example there have been no reported incidents of Shetland being unable to raise faults with failed BT Kilostreams. In respect of AIS (and with the RER project DSC as well) data from hilltop to server is IP, which as a protocol is inherently more tolerant of brief interruptions or slow speed as the protocol requests resends of missing or corrupt packets invisibly to the end user; However, this IP traffic is currently carried over fixed point-to-point BT Kilostream bearers into the MRCCs. Irrespective of the current consultation and any outcome thereafter, MCA hope to investigate any benefits of a move to alternative bearers for our IP traffic to make use of developments in technology since our AIS network was installed."
  8. That was not the point that was being made. The point is the ridiculousness of the proposals. It just so happens that Aberdeen is the most expensive station AND it is the preferred site for a MOC so even on a cost/money saving basis, the plans as they are currently presented make absolutely no sense. It is not, however, the only grounds on which they do not make sense! The plans are being being presented as making best use of the MCA estate - how can they when a proposed MOC is in a building which the MCA does not own and costs a fortune each year in rent and rates.
  9. According to figures just released by the MCA under Freedom of Information, we could actually keep Shetland, Stornoway & Forth all open and that would still be cheaper than keeping Aberdeen open as a MOC! Aberdeen = 280,311 Shetland = £53,036 Stornoway = £55,150 Forth = £44,620 Total = £152,806 which is actually less than Aberdeens rent for the year!! Now perhaps people can see the true extent of the madness of what is proposed?
  10. Killer fact from information provided by the MCA under the Freedom of Information Act. Shetland CG station is actually one of the cheapest in the UK to run coming in at 4th cheapest at only £53,036 per annum (excluding wage costs). After Forth, Humber & Portland. Stornoway is slightly more expensive at £55,150 per annum By far and away the most expensive is one of the proposed MOCs - Aberdeen at £280,311 more than twice the cost of the next most expensive. Remember folks, this is stuff they haven't told you and we're having to winkle out of them through FOIA!
  11. Interesting Fact No.2 The MCA has "previous form" in treating the public and the maritime industries it is meant to serve with contempt. In 1998 the then Coastguard Agency presented proposals called "The Five Year Strategy for HM Coastguard." This proposal was eventually to lead to Oban, Pentland (Orkney) & Tyne Tees Coastguard being closed. The proposals were examined after the fact by the then Select Committee on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs (when it was too late to stop anything). In their Sixth Report of Session 1998-99 the Committee said, with respect to the "consultation" process. "The document eventually issued by the Agency appeared to seek only to justify decisions already taken rather than to genuinely canvass the views of interested parties about the Strategy." They continued: "the Agency, in any event, apparrently ignored those who responded to the consultation document, deciding in the face of overwhelming opposition to the Strategy, not to alter it in any way. Thus there has been no serious attempt by the Coastguard Agency, and latterly the MCA, to engage in consultation about the Five Year Strategy. There should have been." Clear alarm bells then as to the credibility of this consultation exercise. Particularly when you also learn that the results are NOT being independantly scrutinised. They will instead be looked at by a "team" headed by the former Chief Coastguard. So whilst participating in the process is a good way of registering your opposition, don't make it the only one. Continue to make representation with your MP and also press for the Transport Select Committee to examine this in detail BEFORE any of the proposals can be implemented.
  12. MCA "appallingly complacent" says Tavish: http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2011/01/17/communications-problems-make-mockery-of-coastguard-station-closure-plans-%E2%80%93-msp
  13. Interesting fact..... Public sector success rate in delivering large-scale change/IT projects such as those proposed for HM Coastguard = less than 50% (source - National Audit Office) Examples of either complete failure or systems that don't work properly: FiReControl Project, NATS, Immigration & Nationality Service, NHS, Magistrates Courts in England and Wales, Child Support Agency, Dept for Education and Training, Passport Agency...to name but a few.
  14. Wonder what the press would make of the MCA resorting to the desperate tactics of trolling on internet fora and also the potentially unlawful use of MCA IT systems (Blue Boss etc) in the furtherance of that aim.......can't see it showing them in a positive light somehow
  15. Folks, perhaps now you all see what we have to put up with! This is just exactly the sort of attitude that emanates from our HQ all the time! A better example of why their plans should not go ahead could not be found frankly. In fact, I suppose we should thank kiech and donut because this thread was going along quite slowly until they arrived. Now its livened up and been a brilliant advert for our cause because people can see for themselves what we have to put up with. As the saying goes, theres no such thing as bad publicity! Thanks for raising the profile of our campaign guys and irritating the hell out of the good folk of Shetland. If there were any who supported the MCA stance before, there certainly won't be now!!
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