BC coast guard station experiences another outage

VICTORIA, June 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Marine Traffic and Communication Services (MTCS) centre in Victoria has experienced an outage that affected its ability to regulate shipping movements and answer distress calls. The affected area includes Vancouver, Howe Sound, and the Strait of Georgia.

The Victoria base is now responsible for much of the inside passage's radio traffic after the Vancouver communication base was closed by the Harper government on May 6, 2015.

"The Harper government's cuts to the coast guard are compromising marine safety," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "Vital public services that protect people and wildlife on our coast are being eroded by a short-sighted government that doesn't listen to coast guard officers."

During the outage, the coast guard officials were asking mariners to contact the Comox MTCS base (slated for closure in 2016) or the US Coast Guard.

"Stephen Harper has taken us to a pretty sad place when an emergency in Canadian waters requires an American response," said McGarrigle.

The Harper government's cuts to the marine safety network have impacted services on both coasts. Four bases have been closed so far this year in Saint John, St. John's, Ucluelet, and Vancouver. Four more monitoring stations are scheduled to close in 2015 in Thunder Bay, Rivière au Renard, St. Anthony, and Comox in 2016.

The Victoria MTCS base also experienced a major outage on May 18.

Restoring funding to the coast guard would cost $5.5 million per year, or 0.25% of the cost to the government of the income-splitting program introduced in 2015.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.


For further information:

please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) or Ian.Boyko@Unifor.org

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