The MCA’s annual report for April 2019-March 2020 has been published, highlighting the work of the agency for the 12-month period.
Her Majesty’s Coastguard, the search and rescue service of the MCA, responded to more than 31,000 incidents at the coast.
The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre – which responds to incidents where aviation support is needed – responded to 3,800 incidents during the annual report’s period of data collection, rescuing over 1,900 people in the process.
“As this report demonstrates, we – as an agency – continue to keep protecting the general public with our first-class search and rescue service,” says Brian Johnson, chief executive of the MCA. “Elsewhere, exciting work has and is continuing to take place across the board, with important steps being made in many areas, such as Survey and Inspection and enhanced experiences for UK Ship Register customers.
“The final month of this year’s report was affected by Covid-19, in which the agency had to react and adapt quickly to new challenges. We did so effectively, working closely with and supporting our emergency service partners and local resilience forums, whilst maintaining full capability to operate. This work also extended to supporting the shipping industry during a difficult period and doing our bit to make sure that important services have been able to resume as close to normal as possible in most cases.”
As well as frontline search and rescue, HM Coastguard has delivered a number of major projects including making the Channel Navigation Information Service national across its network. This means that 24-hour radio and radar coastal vessel traffic data is available at all Coastguard Operations Centres – not just Dover – to help and support vessels to navigate waters safely.
Away from HM Coastguard, the MCA’s Maritime Regulatory Compliance Team successfully prosecuted ten cases.
And the UK Maritime Services Team, incorporating the UK Ship Register, continues to move more of its work to digital platforms. The UK Ship Register is now able to process registration and vessel information online and had recorded 77 new ship registrations by the end of March.
The survey and inspection side of the Maritime Services Team has completed its Transformation Programme giving surveyors and customers more flexibility of working. In addition to that, a successful surveyors’ recruitment drive saw the MCA place a minimum of 85 qualified Port State Control Officers in positions by 31st March of this year – meeting its target.
Seafarer training and certification faced a number of challenges at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic but the team worked to find solutions including offering extensions and training online.
The MCA continues to work hard to provide a good workplace and continues to drive equality in its workforce. In the annual report, it shows there has been an increase of just over 15 per cent in the number of female staff holding senior roles within the organisation.