The situation with marine emergency calls from Newfoundland and Labrador being routed to the Centro Internazionale Radio Medico in Rome is outrageous and disappointing.
Although we are all relieved that emergency calls from the Atlantic region are now routed to PRAXES Medical Group, the situation raises questions and concerns about the level of marine emergency services in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the lack of monitoring of these services by both levels of government.
As a province with a rich, seafaring history, we are well aware of the dangers and risks associated with making a living off the ocean.
That is why the availability of emergency services is so important to us and always at the forefront of our thoughts.
Our province has a unique culture and many dialects, and these dialects are known to be challenging to decipher for those not from the province.
When an emergency arises and every second matters, we feel it is imperative that help comes from someone who knows and understands the geography and uniqueness of a province situated in the unforgiving North Atlantic.
When an emergency arises and every second matters, we feel it is imperative that help comes from someone who knows and understands the geography and uniqueness of a province situated in the unforgiving North Atlantic. -
This recent situation, as well as the closure of the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s and the failed search for Burton Winters of Makkovik, Labrador, has highlighted the inadequacies of search and rescue and emergency services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We have repeatedly called for a public inquiry into search and rescue in our province and believe that the ever-increasing revelations surrounding this issue further add to the justification for such an inquiry.
A public inquiry is needed to study all the facts, protocols, procedures and services in our province, and reach conclusions and recommendations on how to improve our life-saving services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dwight Ball, MHA
Leader of the Official Opposition