By a Newsnet reporter
SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has stepped up the fight against the closure of Scotland’s busiest coastguard stations.
Mr McMillan will today make a final plea to the UK government to reverse their current proposals to close the Clyde coastguard station at Greenock as he speaks at a rally in the fight to keep the vital service open.
The Tory-Lib plans will see the Greenock MRCC closed in the next four years with responsibility for the busy and extensive waters being divvied up between centres at Belfast and Stornoway, and Forth closed with responsibility moving to Aberdeen and into England.
There is now only 13 days until the end of the consultation .
Mr McMillan who will speak alongside trade union members at the Greenock rally said:
“As the clock ticks the people of Inverclyde and all over the West of Scotland are becoming increasingly aware of just how serious this is.
“We can only hope that the Westminster Government pay attention to the specialist needs of our rugged coastline which has some of the busiest waters for tourists and most significant shipping channels for trade anywhere in the UK.
“I got involved in politics to try and help people, not to put peoples’ lives into danger, and putting peoples’ lives into danger is exactly what the UK government proposals will do if the cuts are made.
“The support for Clyde Coastguard has been fantastic and it’s good to receive backing from those in Belfast expected to pick up Clyde’s work with no extra resources.
“I find it impossible to believe that the people behind these proposals have looked into the possible loss of lives when there is a delay when there is a call out from Belfast or Stornoway?”
Clyde covers a unique area including Glasgow and Prestwick airports, seven ferry routes, dozens of islands and the Faslane naval base. Clyde Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) deployed more Search and Rescue hours than any other station in Scotland in 2010, and was the third most active in the UK.
Mr McMillan added:
“And there is no substitute for local knowledge. Not only will the teams from the other centres be stretched if they have to look after Clyde’s huge and busy area but they won’t know the coastline the way the team here do.”
SNP MSP for North East Fife Rod Campbell added his voice to calls for the coastguard to be protected. The Forth coastguard based in Fife is also scheduled for closure under the UK Government’s plans.