Mervyn Kettle, ex-Project Manager for the National Firefighting at Sea project has written in an upcoming issue of FIRE magazine, communicating his dismay at plans to close the Maritime Incident Response Group following the Comprehensive Spending Review.
He said: 'The recent incident onboard the ship Athena off of the coast of Falmouth highlights the importance of retaining our offshore firefighting capability. However the government spending review has posited the ending of UK MIRG, on the basis that, supposedly, "there is little evidence that MIRG has changed the outcome of ship fires."
'I would totally repudiate this statement. There is no doubt that the government has to reduce the budget deficit, but it would be extremely unwise, after spending almost £3.4 million in researching and introducing the MIRG, to end it. In these times of heightened national security, to reduce the nation's capability in dealing with the possible aftermath of a terrorist incident at sea as originally identified in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, could have disastrous consequences.
'I do accept that the MIRG can be restructured. I would however challenge the Department for Transport and the MCA not to throw the baby out with the bath water and reduce our national SAR capability to where we were almost ten years ago. Lives will be lost and this must not be allowed to happen.'
For the full article see the January 2011 issue of FIRE
Posted November 9 2010