NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE MCA SHARE LEAGUE CONCERNS BUT E

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kbcl1
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NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE MCA SHARE LEAGUE CONCERNS BUT E

Post by kbcl1 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:55 pm

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

MCA SHARE LEAGUE CONCERNS BUT ETV PROVISION WILL END

The UK government is determined to press ahead with the decision to withdraw
emergency towing vessels (ETVs) which are currently on station around British
coasts.

The Director of Maritime Services at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has
confirmed that ETV provision will cease in November 2011. The move comes despite
the fact that only days after the Celtic League raised the issue a serious
incident with a British nuclear submarine resulted in a request for ETV
assistance.

MCA Chief, Phillip Naylor, says that he understands and shares the concern of
the Celtic League (see below) but fiscal constraints are driving the issue.

There is to be a consultation period and it is vitally important that political,
environmental and industry support is mobilised to have this serious policy
change reversed.

The full text of the MCA letter is set out below:

"8th November 2010

Dear Mr Moffatt

Thank you for your letter of 2 October to the Secretary of State about the
decision not to provide emergency towing vessels (ETVs) at public expense once
the current contract let by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) expires in
September 2011. Your letter has been passed to the MCA to reply.

I understand and share your concerns about safety, particularly given the
memories of the BRAER and SEA EMPRESS incidents. I hope that you will appreciate
that the need to reduce the fiscal deficit has forced us to look carefully at
all areas of our spending, and the Government has needed to take difficult
decisions about areas of work that should no longer be funded from the public
purse.

The maritime world has changed since we first introduced year-round ETV cover,
with many of the changes reflecting the resolution that your organisation
adopted at Plomeur in 1996 e.g: ship navigation systems have improved; new
ships' routeing and reporting systems have been introduced in some locations;
automatic identification systems are now a mandatory requirement for ships over
300gt; much improved shore-based tracking and monitoring arrangements are in
place; and of course the European Union has developed successive packages of
measures to improve maritime safety including the requirement for double hull
tankers and mandatory vessel reporting.

ETVs were an important part of the maritime assurance picture at their inception
although they have only ever been one part of a broader strategy for supporting
ships in difficulty, but they have never been a guarantee of absolute safety,
even in the four areas where they have been stationed. Whether they have been
involved in incidents has been determined by factors including geography and
weather, and it is encouraging that in the past five years ETVs have been
deployed relatively rarely in emergency situations.

Fundamentally, we take the view that it is the responsibility of ship owners and
operators to protect their interests by engaging commercial tugs and salvors
when their ships get into difficulty. The Government therefore concluded that
extending the current ETV contract beyond September 2011 is no longer an
appropriate use of taxpayers' money.

Let me assure you, however, that between now and next September, we intend to
work with the shipping and wider maritime industries, and also with local
interested parties, to facilitate discussions about how commercial tug and
salvage arrangements could operate in the future. I hope that you will feel
able to give the Agency the benefit of your advice as part of that ongoing
dialogue.

Yours sincerely


Philip Naylor
Director of Maritime Services"


Related links on Celtic News here:


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_le ... ssage/3496
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_le ... ssage/3507
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_le ... ssage/3512

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

14/11/10

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works
to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights
human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

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