Friday, August 5, 2016

Shortage of Naval Assets to Aid Border Patrols Lambasted by Committee

Maritime Union Offers Assistance
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – The report this week from the Home Affairs Select Committee on the migrant crisis in Europe has criticised the lack of resources from the British government calling the number of Border Force vessels in operation worryingly low and calling for Royal Navy ships to make up the shortfall. This however is unlikely to happen as, in a recent investigation by ‘Private Eye’ it was alleged that some of the most potentially suitable vessels, the six Type 45 destroyers in the fleet, all remain docked in Portsmouth, one permanently as a ‘harbour training and accommodation ship’ and the others having to alternately use the single auxiliary power line available to maintain their complex, and power thirsty, electrical systems.

The shortage of Royal Naval resources have been a bone of contention for years and now Nautilus, the union which represents maritime professionals from the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland, has stepped in to offer assistance with general secretary Mark Dickinson saying:

”It is high time that the government realised the impact of years of under-resourcing of the Royal Navy (RN) which is already over-stretched. Likewise, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), who would have been perfectly placed to provide this type of support. The RN and RFA are reeling from more than ten years of cutbacks, lack of investment and the consequences of austerity.

“Nautilus is calling on the government to look to the thousands of offshore workers who have been made redundant and the hundreds of supply boats which are without work because of the downturn in the oil price and the implications for investment and activity in the offshore sector. These vessels with their British seafarers could be immediately chartered by the government to strengthen our coastal security, thereby boosting the Border Force in this time of need and giving valuable work to those who need it.”

The Home Affairs Select Committee’s report contains what it describes as some ‘staggering’ findings. Almost 3,000 people from the 227,316 migrants entering Europe by sea in the first six months of this year have died in the attempt.