The Shetland Coastguard branch of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has attacked the government’s proposal to close the station or reduce opening hours, warning that it will compromise the safety of thousands of seafarers.
In its first statement since shipping minister Mike Penning announced last Thursday that Shetland or Stornoway will close as part of a modernisation plan designed to save the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) £20 million over four years, the also PCS thanked people for their support in the campaign to retain the station at the Knab. More than 2,000 people have signed up to a Facebook page in protest at the proposals and a petition has been launched.
The PCS statement said: “The Shetland Coastguard branch of the PCS Union are dismayed at the recent announcement from the UK government regarding the modernisation of the coastguard service.
“We feel that their proposal to either reduce the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres opening hours, or to close the station completely, is ill thought out and that if it comes to fruition then the safety of the people in the Shetland and Orkney communities and beyond, and of the thousands of seafarers in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean will be compromised.
“We would like to thank everybody for their support in the campaign to keep Shetland Coastguard in Shetland.”