Sarah Wollaston – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Transport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Sarah Wollaston on 2016-09-05.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times in the last two years the Northern Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham has had staffing levels below what is considered safe.

Mr John Hayes

The operational concepts and procedures that underpin Her Majesty’s Coastguard’s national network mean that the Coastguard Centres within it no longer have fixed geographic boundaries. This enables Coastguards at either the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) or any of the 9 Coastguard Operations Centres (CGOC) to coordinate any incident anywhere around the UK coast irrespective of their location. As a result workload is now managed on a national basis rather than Centre by Centre as was previously the case. National capability and Coastguard staff from any Centre are now available to provide additional support to any individual Centre within the network when it is considered necessary by senior operational managers.

Due to this inherent flexibility Her Majesty’s Coastguard sets ‘Optimum Suggested’ staffing for the network as a whole rather than for each centre. Over the last two years since the national network became operational out of a total of 1,427 watches (both day and night) the network has been staffed below ‘Optimal Suggested’ levels on 137 watches.