Cuts put sea safety at risk, says county fire chief

Hampshire Chief Fire Officer John Bonney
Hampshire Chief Fire Officer John Bonney
Louis Makai. Picture: Sussex Police

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SAFETY at sea could be put at risk by cut-backs, Hampshire’s fire and rescue chief officer has warned.

The concerns come as the government’s Department for Transport plans to cut funding for specialist teams who tackle fires at sea.

Fire chief John Bonney said: ‘I am very concerned by this decision which threatens a vital part of our maritime resilience. In my view without a properly funded provision for fire-fighting at sea by professional firefighters the public will be at greater risk.’

The Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) is also set to be scrapped.

The MIRG, which includes 40 Hampshire firefighters, provides an emergency response to ships in danger.

Firefighters will not lose their jobs and will continue to fulfill other duties.

Chairman of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Royston Smith, said: ‘I am disappointed that the DfT has not been able to find a solution with fire authorities to continue to provide this important capability.’