The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
Television & Radio
308 posts but only 251 coordinators.
However, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that it had recently filled 28 vacancies after a recruitment campaign.
First Minister Alex Salmond claimed last month that there was “doubt” hanging over the running of the Aberdeen centre, after the Press and Journal revealed it was staffed below “risk- assessed” levels on 57% of shifts between April 2012 and March this year.
The figures, released under freedom of information laws, showed that Stornoway Coastguard co- ordination centre was short- staffed on 21% of shifts and Belfast for 45%, but Lerwick was under strength for just 0.4% of the watches.
Staff are also covering a wider area since the closure of the Clyde and Forth stations last year.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said last night: “It is deeply troubling that at the Coastguard's busiest time there are such large holes in staffing.
“Officers have been leaving in droves because of the government's ill-thoughtthrough closure plans and ministers and senior officials need to address this urgently.”
Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, said: “These revelations show that the Westminster government is failing to live up to its responsibility to manage vital Coastguard services.
“With Westminster having axed Coastguard stations around the UK, it is simply unacceptable that the remaining Coastguard centres are not being fully staffed.”
An MCA spokeswoman said: “Currently, where a maritime rescue co-ordination centre (MRCC) is experiencing reduced staffing levels, established ‘pairing' arrangements are used.
“This means each MRCC can be connected to at least one other MRCC that will provide mutual support.
“Regarding Aberdeen specifically, pairing arrangements enable support t o be available through a fixed link from the MRCC in Shetland and via dial-up links from the MRCCs in Belfast, Stornoway, Humber or Liverpool.”