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Shipping: Rescue Services

Transport written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Sarah Wollaston Sarah Wollaston Conservative, Totnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans her Department has put in place for a maritime emergency in the South West that requires an emergency towing vehicle with a 200 ton bullard pull capability.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

HM Coastguard Coordination Centres actively monitor shipping using the automatic identification system (AIS) and will proactively contact ships that are observed to be stopped at sea or behaving erratically. Arrangements have been put in place to monitor tug availability in the waters around the UK and the Coastguard will encourage ship masters, owners and their insurers to take early action to summon tug assistance should ships get into difficulty or become disabled. Coastguards will also advise the principal salvage and towage brokers about the existence of disabled vessels so that they can match market capabilities with demand.

Additionally, HM Coastguard has long-standing arrangements with ports, harbours and tug brokers for the supply of tugs in an emergency situation, and the coastguard agreement on salvage and towage (CAST) provides a further option for the provision of emergency towing.

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