Coast Guard maintains rescue closures aren't dangerous
The Coast Guard says the shutdown of two search and rescue centres will not put any Canadians at risk, responding to criticism raised by a retired Coast Guard captain on Monday.
It's been almost a year since the Coast Guard shut down its Search and Rescue Centre in St. John's.
Now the service is shutting down its Quebec centre in the fall and will split the calls between Halifax and Trenton, Ont.
That means the Halifax Search and Rescue Centre will take in calls from the mouth of the St. Lawrence up to the Labrador coast.
Retired Coast Guard Captain Hubert Desgagnés told CBC’s Information Morning the closures will double the number of incident calls the Halifax centre will have to handle every year.
While Atlantic Coast Guard director Mike Voigt said he agrees there'll be an increase, he insists it'll considerably less than that.
Voight has been working on the consolidation of the centres for the past 21 months.
“We’ve invested a lot of time, effort, training and resources into the centres in Halifax and Trenton. For example, in Halifax we’ve increased the search and rescue co-ordinators by seven, bringing in a fully bilingual personnel. This will ensure that we maintain that high level of search and rescue service, but it will also ensure it’s done in the most efficient way possible,” he said.
Voigt also said the people who work at the joint search and rescue centres have experience working on ships throughout the country so they'll have the local knowledge needed of all the coasts involved.