HRH the Prince of Wales officially opened the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham yesterday (Wednesday) – the centre responsible for organising all coastal rescue incidents around the coast of the Isle of Wight.
The Prince, who is Honorary Commodore of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, spent time looking at the work done at the flagship centre which is at the heart of the new National Network.
HM Coastguard’s National Network is the first point of call for 999 calls, ranging from vessels in distress, to people trapped at sea and cliff fallers. The centre organises the tasking of 3 Coastguard Rescue Teams, 2 Incident Response Teams and 6 lifeboat stations on the Isle of Wight, as well as the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter often seen flying in the skies.
The National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) is supported by ten coastguard operation centres across the country and manages up-to-the-minute nationwide search and rescue capabilities. Since it went live in September it has dealt with some 2,354 incidents.
His Royal Highness met with senior members of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and spoke with controllers and operations officers – the people who oversee incidents and deploy resources.
Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said:
“This is a wonderful day for Her Majesty’s Coastguard.
“We are greatly honoured that HRH The Prince of Wales, as our Honorary Commodore, today formally opened our National Maritime Operations Centre here in Fareham. This marks a huge step forward in the Coastguard’s ability to coordinate effective rescues at sea and on our coasts.
‘The NMOC is at the hub of a new, integrated network of Coastguard Operations Centres around the UK.
‘When the network is fully in place by the end of this year, both mariners and the general public will be able to count on an unprecedented quality of service from our excellent systems and highly trained staff.”
Richard Parkes, Director, Maritime Operations at the MCA, said:
“The official opening of the National Maritime Operations Centre marks another important milestone in the history of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. It signifies the step change in capability that our new National Network will deliver and recognises the tremendous amount of hard work involved in bringing this network online around the coast of the UK”.