RMT responses to Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) consultations on closure of Marine Offices and Port State Control & Flag State Control regulations

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Circular No: NP/263/16

TO ALL SHIPPING AND OFFSHORE BRANCHES AND REGIONAL COUNCILS

Our ref: S1/1 S5/2

9th November 2016

Dear Colleagues

RMT responses to Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) consultations on closure of Marine Offices and Port State Control & Flag State Control regulations

Further to circular no. NP/260/16 of 2nd November 2016, please find attached the union’s responses to two other MCA consultations conducted earlier this year as part of the Government’s MCA reform plans.
The first consultation concerned the MCA’s plans to close Marine Offices at the following locations (planned date for closure in brackets):

•    Tyne and Plymouth (2017)
•    Beverley, Harwich and Orpington (2018)
•    Norwich (2019)

The MCA also proposed opening two new Marine Offices at sites in Bridlington and Ipswich but, overall, the intention is to cut the national network of Marine Offices from 17 to 10. Three Marine Offices, at Brixham, Leith and Newlyn have already been closed, without consultation. If the MCA’s plans are approved, by 2019 the UK will be left with ten Marine Offices in the following locations: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Liverpool, Falmouth, Southampton, Dover, Ipswich and Bridlington.

Marine Offices provide essential administrative and technical support to seafarer Ratings and Officers across the UK, particularly in keeping training and documentation updated, as well as providing eye sight tests and other medical advice. Marine Offices also support the work of the MCA Surveyors in discharging their regulatory responsibilities. A copy of the union’s response to the MCA’s consultation is attached.
Unfortunately, the MCA announced via their blog in July that they were pressing ahead with their plans. As a result, Shipping Branches, especially those with a Marine Office in their region, are advised to use the union’s consultation response to contact local MPs, MSPs, AMs and councillors to highlight the need to protect the Marine Office network from further closures.

The union is also pursuing this matter with members of the RMT Parliamentary Groups, in preparation for protests against the latest round of closures, due to start with the Tyne and Plymouth Marine Offices in 2017.

The second MCA consultation was a statutory one, reviewing MCA’s implementation of Port State Control & Flag State Control regulations. These are essential international regulations governing safety, structural and crew employment and welfare standards on UK flagged vessels, as well as on international registered vessels working from UK ports. A copy of the union’s response to the MCA on this consultation is also attached.

It would be appreciated if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all branch members and you will be advised of further developments.

Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary