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Hebrides News


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has reviewed and updated their operating procedures following the loss of the Lewis fishing vessel MFV Louisa.


Delays in the MCA process of tasking lifeboats was raised in Marine Accident Investigation branch report into the tragedy.


Rescue services were not alerted to the emergency until about an hour after the first distress signal was received.


Three men died off Mingulay in April 2016 in what is the Western Isles’ biggest fishing disaster for half a century.


Paul Alliston, Martin Johnstone, Chris Morrison perished after the shellfish boat flooded and sank. Lachlan Armstrong was the sole survivor.


MP Angus Brendan MacNeil held a meeting with Maritime Minister John Hayes MP and Sir Alan Massey, MCA chief executive.


Mr MacNeil said the MCA said it has taken prompt action to address the shortcomings identified in the Louisa report.


The Maritime Minister has also confirmed that he will be arranging a roundtable forum in the New Year to follow up on the concerns.


Angus MacNeil said: ““The MCA has confirmed that the procedure now includes the requirement to treat all alerts with position information as distress alerts and take immediate action.


“Steps have also been taken to improve staff training.”


► Catalogue of errors led to fishing boat tragedy


The MP added: “There seems to be no movement by the MCA on the point I raised that the MCA withholding their telephone number when making calls, this prevents people from phoning back if they miss the call - this is crucial.”


Mr MacNeil higlighted: “As I have previously said, RNLI crews would rather be called to a false alarm than to be called out late to an emergency.


“I am pleased that this issue is getting the serious attention it deserves and that the maritime minister will be arranging a further meeting in the New Year.”

Coastguard agency update procedures following Louisa tragedy

24 December 2017