MCA break silence over table top exercise

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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have broken their silence on the outcome of a table top exercise set up to test their proposals for a scaled down service

A spokesperson for the MCA told the Gazette: “The table-top exercise was designed to be a test of the Maritime Operations Centre (MOC)/Day Sub-centre concept. It was carried out between MCA and PCS union representatives without prejudice and examined the working of a single MOC with three sub-centres covering England and Wales only. No locations were defined as it was only a test of the concept.

“The concept was measured against the busiest day on record, 23 June 2006, plus an additional major incident and a complete power failure. The outcomes of the exercise were only to hold a discussion with union reps that took part on the model. No report on the outcomes of this exercise was produced by MCA.”

The spokesperson went on that what was found by the table top exercise what that the peak hour, one MOC and three Sub Centres were strained for a short period of time.

What was not examined, stated the spokesperson, was the capacity that would have been available with a second MOC for that day plus sub-centres in Scotland and/or Northern Ireland: “The loading for the day in question for those areas was not significant. It is worth noting that the concept had no major issues. The loading (which was artificially inflated above the busiest day on record) did stretch the MOC and three sub-centre model that was requested by the PCS.”

The table top exercise had examined incident loading and distribution using a networked concept for the Coastguard service, in place of the paired stations configuration as at present.

The spokesperson said the exercise did not look at issues regarding the utilisation of aerials:

“Therefore the statement concerning the use of aerials by more than one MRCC is factually incorrect and no such problem was encountered. The exercise was certainly not considered a ‘washout’ and was deemed as successful in achieving the outcome of a concept test.”