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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ARCC to Join with NMOC?; UK SAR Conference Starts in Brighton

By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief

Brighton, UK—The UK’s Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Center (ARCC), currently manned by members of the Royal Air Force and based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, could be relocated to the new National Maritime Operations Center (NMOC) in Fareham, near Portsmouth, around 2017 when the military ceases to contribute helicopters to the UK’s search and rescue capability.

Vice Admiral Alan Massey, chief executive of the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), was the keynote speaker on the first day of the UK Search & Rescue conference at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. He clarified that while the decision still had to be finalized, it represented an opportunity of consolidation with the NMOC in one location to make the organization.

The MCA is progressing through its own period of reorganization, reducing its network of 18 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCCs) to just eight, with only three of those offering 24/7 continuous operations. Massey said that after an aborted start, which was a result of not fully engaging with the organization’s rank and file employees, the new plan has been received and understood. Its aim is to produce a truly national maritime picture with a pre-planned distributed workload that will take into account peaks and troughs of activity throughout the year and by location.

Later during the address, he said that the idea of one single European coastguard organization was “not a priority,” adding “the UK government does not support a multinational service.”

The two-day conference will see a broad range of international speakers addressing various issues relating to search and rescue organizations, technologies and practices. In addition to MCA personnel, there are operators from the Portuguese Navy, SASEMAR in Spain, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Icelandic Coastguard.

Related: SAR News

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