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cccg fleet reduction

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Here is the article for anyone interested,





Canadian Coast Guard could chop six helicopters in cost-cutting exercise



Canadian Press



Thursday, May 01, 2003




HALIFAX (CP) - The coast guard is considering cutting its fleet of helicopters by six aircraft in a move that may portend a similar reduction in its fleet of aging vessels.


An options paper released under the Access to Information Act says the badly underfunded helicopter service, with 27 aircraft, must become smaller if the coast guard is to live within its means. The paper, dated last November, proposes the coast guard "reduce the inventory of helicopters by removing six machines, believed to be the number needed to get the savings and efficiencies required, along with the staff associated with them."


The remaining 21 helicopters would increase their flying time to make up for the loss.


The paper says the coast guard needs to fly for 9,750 hours this year to service navigation aids such as buoys and to survey ice conditions - but has money for only 6,000 hours.


Before a difficult merger with the federal Fisheries Department in 1995, the coast guard had enough money to fly its helicopters for 12,000 hours each year.


The agency has already decided not to replace a Bell 212 chopper that crashed near Cabot Island, Nfld., in May 2000, and has since been looking for other ways to reduce the numbers.


The paper is silent on which helicopters would be targeted and how many aircraft types would remain. The coast guard currently operates four models at 11 bases.


Previous coast guard studies have suggested that a 30-year-old S-61N Sikorsky helicopter, based in Prince Rupert, B.C., is too expensive to operate.


And a smaller BO-105 chopper based in Yarmouth, N.S., has been scheduled to be mothballed or sold as the military''s new Cormorant search-and-rescue choppers come into service at the Greenwood, N.S., air base over the next year.


The proposed helicopter reductions are part of a larger Fisheries Department exercise that will also examine the 104 vessels in the combined fleet. About 30 per cent of the ships are more than 25 years old and many are overdue for replacement.


The commissioner of the coast guard says the review exercise will be complete in a few months.


"Helicopters are just one aspect of a much larger study," John Adams said in an interview from Ottawa on Thursday. "The whole thing will be culminated in the fall of this year."


Adams cautioned that the helicopter fleet reduction is just a proposal and that no specific vessel-reduction targets are yet on the table.


He added that whatever is decided, "we won''t compromise safety, our levels of service will not be reduced (and) search and rescue continues to be the top of our priority list."


Only coast guard vessels, rather than its helicopters, are used as primary resources for search and rescue. But the choppers can be pressed into service if the military''s Cormorants and Labradors are not immediately available.


The coast guard''s choppers will cost the department $13.7 million in 2003-2004. Maintenance costs have jumped by $2 million this year because of some major scheduled overhauls.


The department has been dipping into its capital budget to pay for current maintenance because operating funds have run out, the options paper notes.


The combined budget of the Fisheries Department and coast guard has shrunk by $44 million this year, partly through an $8-million cut to search and rescue, and a $13-million cut to marine safety.


The coast guard came under fire for budget cuts last summer after five people died when a fishing boat, the Cap Rouge 2, capsized in the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia.


Critics at the time said lives might have been saved if a coast guard dive team had arrived sooner and was allowed to perform a rescue immediately.


"Funding cuts are responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard''s inability to perform its mandated marine rescue during the Cap Rouge tragedy," said Michael Wing, president of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, representing coast guard workers.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes they should downsize.Talk about a waste of taxpayers money.61s and 105s flying all over the country to deliver newspapers and bales of hay to feed lightkeepers pet horses.

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Im a mariner alright, even live on a boat.Am okay with the marine side of things not destaffing the light houses ect.But the helicopter side of things out here leaves something to be desired.9 times out of ten a total waste of our money.Could be done for half the cost if put in the private sector.I mean really, to but a big fat guy dressed up as Santa Clause and fly him around the west coast in a s61 is a total waste of my money and yours.But wait, your money is my money.

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mini, sounds like sour grapes, you don''t have a clue what these guys do. Flying a fat guy in a 61 is done once a year on a regular lightstation support trip. What about the sick and injured that are provide assistance, the small fishing boats in trouble that helped, support to the manned lighthouses is a large part of what they do and the 61 is a very efficient way of getting the job done. You must be aware that all the SAR helicopter are based in Comox....the CCG 61 is a very valuable SAR resource in a area that has little resources.


The pilots and engineers with the ccg are all hard working and very dedicated individuals. Most come from private industry and over the years have helped to make changes to improve they way they operated. I was part of this organization a while back, and prior to that worked for private industry. It was there (private industry) that I saw a lot of inefficiencies, especially when it came to private industry supporting government.


So mini back off the guys the fly the red and white. They are part of a team that trying to keep things safe for you mariners during very difficult and challenging times.

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