Saturday, 20 September 2014


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will formally remember, at a service in Chatham on Monday, the Coastguard Officers who lost their lives when three Royal Navy cruisers were sunk by enemy action.

The commemoration event at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on 22 September 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the loss of 1,459 men on board HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy. The vast majority of these men were Coastguard Officers.

Joining His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG will be Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Also representing HM Coastguard will be serving Coastguard Officers Mark Rodaway OBE, Geoff Matthews, Cindy Rodaway, Emma Gaston and James Way.

The commemorations will start at 2pm with a ceremonial Drumhead Service. During this service the colours of HM Coastguard will be placed on the drumhead and HRH the Duke of Kent will unveil a plaque commemorating the loss of the three cruisers.

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Editors notes:

For further PRESS information and registering interest in attending the event, please contact Gail Louise James, Communications Manager on 01634 823813 or email

Early on 22nd September 1914, HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy were patrolling in the North Sea 60 miles off the Dutch coast, when they were attacked by U-Boat U9 and all were sunk with the loss of 1,459 lives. The ships’ complements were mainly reservists, called into service at the declaration of war. A number of the survivors were picked up by Dutch fishing vessels and a number of Dutchmen will attend this event.  The three cruisers were part of the Royal Navy’s 7th Cruiser Squadron. Their task was to protect ships in the North Sea which were carrying supplies between Britain and France. However, the ships were considered obsolete and were crewed largely by naval reservists. Because of the age and inexperience of the crews the Squadron was considered to be at high risk and had earned the nickname “the Live-Bait Squadron”. On 22nd September 1914, the three ships were on patrol. The Squadron’s flagship and its screen of destroyers had been forced to return to port so the cruisers were unsupported. They were spotted by a German U-boat, U-9. The submarine fired a torpedo at Aboukir which broke the cruiser’s back. The Hogue came to the Aboukir’s aid and was herself torpedoed, as was the Cressy when she steamed in to help. All three ships were sunk and over 1,450 men were killed, many of them reservists from the Medway Towns. 

Friday, 19 September 2014


Builders and owners of large yachts will learn more about Ensign, the sector-leading service offered by the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show from 24 to the 27 September 2014.

Ensign, the Large Yacht Services division of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will be offering advice and guidance on the LY3 code, the Maritime Labour Convention and Seafarers’ Standards to industry, yacht owners and other visitors for the duration of the show.

The MCA’s Chief Executive, Sir Alan Massey, will represent the UK Shipping Minister, John Hayes MP, at the event and will give a keynote presentation.

The MCA is a world leader in maritime administration and the originator of the Large Commercial Yacht Code, LY3, which covers safety for yachts more than 24-metres in length.
MCA surveyors and the Head of Seafarer Services and Ship Registration will also be on hand to answer any questions relating to current regulations and policies across the field of commercial yacht coding, surveying, training and certification and United Kingdom ship registration.

Attendees are invited to come and meet Ensign in Darse Sud Tent Stand QS98.

Further information about Ensign is available at , or call  +44 (0)191 4969917.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014


Shipping Minister John Hayes visited Sutton Bridge Coastguard Rescue Team yesterday on his first official outing to a Coastguard base.  

Sutton Bridge CRT with
Shipping Minister John Hayes
He saw rescue officers put their skills to test, demonstrating how they would rescue a person in difficulty in the water, from immediate rescue techniques to casualty recovery and care.

Her Majesty's Coastguard is the emergency service responsible for coordinating maritime search and rescue in the UK. One rescue resource often called into action is the Coastguard Rescue Teams. There are currently 347 teams around the UK, made up of more than 3,200 volunteers. 

Chief Coastguard Richard Martin
with Shipping Minister John Hayes

Shipping Minister John Hayes MP said: 

"Coastguards work around the clock to keep people safe in the water. They are volunteers and the lynchpin of their local communities. 

"I am privileged to have seen firsthand their skilful, courageous work and would like to pay tribute to all those who dedicate their time and expertise to providing this critical service."

Shipping Minister John Hayes
with Head of Coastal Resources
Steve Monks
Coastguard Rescue Officers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to respond at a moment's notice. They're trained in a variety of rescue techniques, including water, mud, rope and cliff rescues, search methods, assisting helicopter operations and incident prevention. 

To find out more about how the Coastguard operates, click here.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Coastguards have issued an appeal to an angler, who may have left their fishing gear on the beach near Mudeford Quay, Christchurch, to get in touch with them urgently.

This morning, Dorset Police reported that some high quality fishing tackle had apparently been abandoned on the steeply shelving beach at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour – leading to concerns that the angler may have entered the water and got into difficulties. The equipment was discovered by a dog-walker at 6:30am.

The Mudeford lifeboat, Southbourne Coastguard Rescue Team, the Lee-on-Solent search and rescue helicopter and the police have all been involved in a so far fruitless search.

Watch Officer at Portland Coastguard, Becky Clarke, said:  “The fact that some expensive fishing tackle has simply been left on the beach has raised fears that an angler has possibly gone into the water.

“We are appealing to anyone who thinks that they are this angler – or knows who it might be - to please get in touch with the Coastguard urgently by calling 999.”  


Search has been suspended pending further information.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Humber Coastguard are co-ordinating the search and rescue operation after a helicopter crashed into the sea, close to cliffs, off Flamborough Head Lighthouse.

The aircraft is believed to have been returning to Humberside Airport when the incident occurred.

The Humber Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a call at 1340 this afternoon that a small helicopter had gone into the water below the cliff, between the lighthouse and Flamborough Head Golf Course.

A coastguard officer was winched down to assess the crash site by the search and rescue helicopter from Leconfield.  

Other rescue resources sent to the scene are:   Bridlington, Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay and Filey Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Scarborough Coastguard Sector Manager and the Bridlington and Flamborough lifeboats. The Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance and Humberside Police are also attending the incident. 

The shoreside area around the scene has been cordoned to allow rescue efforts to continue.

Friday, 12 September 2014


The way the Coastguard coordinates search and rescue operations on our coast and out at sea is changing.

A new national network of 10 coordination centres is being set up, with a new National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Hampshire at the heart.

The public and sailors alike will now get the chance to learn more about the changes at this year’s Southampton Boat Show. Coastguards will be on stand J029 in Mayflower Hall from 12 – 21 September 2014.

Tristam Newey, Coastguard Commander at the NMOC, said: 

“Changes being made to the Coastguard will see a new national network which will be able to balance out the workload between all of our Coastguards around the country. This means they’ll be a much bigger and better support network able to step in and help out if one of our UK centres is dealing with multiple incidents.”

More than 2,000 leisure craft have been helped by the Coastguard in the past year alone (1 September 2013 – 1 September 2014). The incidents ranged from boats running out of fuel, dismasted yachts, to vessels running aground and boats taking on water and then sinking.

The response to all these search and rescue incidents will remain the same with the new set up. Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue units that are sent out to help will be unaffected.

Tristam added:

“The key thing for people to remember is that we’re still here to help you. If you get into difficulty, or spot someone else in trouble, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard or contact us via VHF DSC or VHF Channel 16.”

Thursday, 11 September 2014


The National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) has coordinated its first rescue since the handover from Solent Coastguard.

The process of transferring operations has been taking place this week and were completed today. This means the NMOC now looks after the patch of coastline from Beachy Head in East Sussex to the Hampshire / Dorset border.

A Pan Pan message was picked up by the NMOC just after 3pm this afternoon. It was from a boat which had broken down to the east of Isle of Wight. An RNLI lifeboat from Selsey was sent to the scene and towed the vessel back to shore.

For further details on the NMOC, please click here.