Audio of Coast Guard call in Iqaluit used by union to show danger of closing Comox MCTS.
Unifor, the union representing workers at the Marine Communication and Traffic Services centre in Comox says garbled audio recordings of a distress call in Iqaluit prove that new equipment used by the Coast Guard will put mariners in danger.
The recordings, obtained through an access to information request by Unifor, were recorded in 2012 and contain communication between a Coast Guard dispatcher and an unidentified mariner.
In part of the recording one can hear only a garbled request from the boater followed by the dispatcher saying “Could you say that last again please?” as he attempted to understand the boater’s request.
Western Region Vice President for Unifor Scott Hodge, who at one time worked at the Comox MCTS said this is an unacceptable and dangerous failure of communications.
“You want to be able to hear them. Sometimes people only get one call and sometimes it’s not even always ‘help.’ Sometimes they’re just saying things like can you hear me?” he said.
Hodge appeared before a Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Thursday in Ottawa where the audio recordings were presented.
Coast Guard management also spoke before the committee and said the problems have been fixed.
However the union tells CHEK News only one half of the communication problem has been rectified adding transmissions from mariner to Coast Guard radio remain unclear.
The Conservative government announced the closure of communication centres in Ucluelet, Comox and Vancouver in 2012. Centres in Victoria and Prince Rupert are to cover the BC coast with the new equipment in question.
The centres are responsible for distress calls and marine traffic.
The union has been urging the new Liberal government to reverse the Conservatives decision.
Comox MCTS is scheduled to close in May.