Fears of coastguard ‘crisis’

A looming “crisis” in the coastguard service has prompted MP Alistair Carmichael to call on the UK government to intervene.

He says an ongoing dispute between volunteers and senior management is threatening disruption at the Orkney and Shetland coastguard.

The MP met Maritime and Coastguard Agency chief executive Sir Alan Massey on Wednesday to discuss the matter, understood to centre around the proposed return to work of a manager who had been suspended for a long period.

Mr Carmichael says the matter has caused a “strength of feeling” among volunteers and that he fears it could lead to “mass resignations of local volunteers”, something he pointed out to Sir Alan.

“Unfortunately it was not a particularly productive meeting and we were unable to find much common ground,” Mr Carmichael said.

“I was very disappointed by the MCA’s attitude towards volunteers, and their response to this growing crisis. My primary concern is that the coastlines of the Northern Isles should remain protected. I know that is the priority of the volunteers, that is why they do the essential work that they do.

“The MCA now need to prove that it is their priority, by working with us to find a solution, and if they can’t, then the government must.”

However, Sir Alan said he was “aware and concerned some local issues that have arisen among our volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers in Shetland and Orkney.” He added that he and colleagues were working hard to resolve the situation.

“As part of these efforts I was very pleased to meet with Mr Carmichael to understand his concerns. Our volunteers do great work for their communities, and their service is of vital importance to coastal safety around the whole of the UK.”


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.