Marine Rescue Coordination Centres saved from closure following intensive campaign by Senator Daly
Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centres
The Former Minister of State for Transport, Noel Dempsey T.D. announced that the Government, having considered the matter fully and taken into account the various views expressed has decided to retain the present configuration for the delivery of Marine Rescue Co-ordination. This is based on a Marine Rescue Co-ordination centre in Dublin and two sub centres at Malin and Valentia.
The need to urgently upgrade the existing equipment has been recognised and the purchase of three Integrated Communication System (ICS) cores at a cost of approximately €2.5 million has been approved. One will be located at each centre. Tendering procedures for the necessary radio equipment is at an advanced stage and delivery and installation of the first Integrated Communication System (ICS) core in Dublin will be in late 2009 with work at Malin and Valentia to commence in 2010. This phasing ensures that full national coverage is maintained while development work takes place.
Proposals to develop the Dublin Centre, where a move from the present location is necessary, are underway. This will improve the function and capacity of this location as a full Marine Rescue Co-ordination centre. Building work is expected to commence in Q2 2009. The intention is to move the MRCC from its present site in the Nurses home to the main Department of Transport building in Leeson Lane.
The other ICS cores are to be located in Malin and Valentia. Each ICS core will be linked to a range of Coast Guard remote aerial sites which will ensure the capacity to retain full national coverage should one of the centres go offline.
This decision means that the capacity and flexibility of the national maritime and rescue communications system will be considerably enhanced. The Minister commented that this represents a significant step in the ongoing development of maritime safety services in Ireland which will continue in the years ahead.
The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) of the Department of Transport provides for marine emergency management. Central to this function is its ability to receive and co-ordinate responses to emergency calls. This, essentially, is the work done at Marine Rescue Centres. They monitor radio traffic, answer 999 and mayday calls and, having assessed the situation, co-ordinate others who provide the on-scene response.
Today, the main radio switch and control equipment is located at three manned centres around the country. These are Dublin (Leeson Lane), Malin Head and Valentia Island, and they operate, and control twenty-one remote maritime radio sites strategically located around the coastline and major inland lakes.
Dublin, as the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is the national operational facility responsible for coordinating a response to all marine emergencies anywhere in the Irish Responsibility Regions, and acts as a maritime security contact point for Irish vessels worldwide.
Malin Head and Valentia are Marine Rescue Sub Centres (MRSCs), each with delegated authority from the MRCC since 2001 to co-ordinate a response to search and rescue incidents in its area of responsibility.
In 2009 Mark Daly was made an honorary member of the Valentia Coast Guard due to his work in preventing the closure of the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre.
Links to Newspaper Reports:
Coast Guard station to remain open on Valentia Island – 28 November 2012
Islanders challenging coast guard closures – 2 July 2008
Govt accused of ignoring Coast Guard report – 21 February 2008
Coast Guard radio relocation plan criticised – 10 December 2007