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About To Learn Our Fate



This week we will hear what the Govt plans to do with HM Coastguard. We're given to understand the announcement will come on Wednesday in a statement to the House from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

The Sunday papers have been full of speculation but they all seem to have this figure of 11 stations surviving, all 24 hrs operation. The one question mark I would put over that is that generally, as far as the MCA/Govt is concerned, they usually leave London ( a small station on the Thames) out of the equation as it is very different to the remainder. So is it 11 in total or 11 + London? If its the latter then that would be 4 more stations surviving than originally planned which is substantially better (unless of course you are still one of those scheduled to close). I also note that there seems to be no mention of any MOC (Maritime Operations Centre) in any of the articles, so I wonder if that idea has also been dropped.

In any case we'll know soon enough. As far as we at Shetland are concerned, if the decision still goes against us then we are likely to fight on, we are not going to roll over and play dead.

We are very proud of our campaign to keep the station open, in particular, we are proud of the fact that at no time has the personal impact of the closure had any bearing on it. First and foremost we have concentrated on the threat to the safety of the people we serve, rather than linger on what is likely to happen to us at a personal level. That said, when a decision is this close, you cannot help but reflect on how it may affect you personally. For me, if the station in Shetland closes then I stand to lose everything that I have worked so hard for over the last 20-odd years, including my house that I bought only 3 years ago, so as you can see this week is a big one for me and indeed many of my friends and colleagues who are in much the same boat so I look forward to it both with eagerness to have it over and done with, but also with great trepidation.


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Thankyou all. The announcement will be formally made to the House tomorrow morning (14th). A member of the Senior Management Team is on his way to Shetland to deliver the news. We're not sure yet whether it will be a written announcement to Parliament or a formal oral one. This is probably due to all the other stuff going on (mainly the phone hacking saga) so if its a written one we should no sometime after 0930. If its a fromal oral statement that will be at 1100. Either way should know our fate by lunchtime.
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[quote]Coastguard stations in Shetland and Stornoway are set to escape closure under the latest coalition government moves to overhaul the service. The radical plan had been to cut half of the 18 UK-wide stations. In Scotland the proposal was to have one 24 hour centre in Aberdeen, and a second base, either Shetland or Stornoway, open during daylight hours.

But the government is now set to change course and keep Shetland and Stornoway open 24 hours.

UK government ministers had argued that the scaling back in the service was necessary in order to modernise it and make it more efficient. But unions, campaigners, and a cross party committee of MPs said the plans could put lives at risk.[/quote]


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