On Monday, Emma secured an adjournment debate in Parliament on the closure of the Tyne Marine Office in South Shields. The Tyne Marine Office was previously based at Compass House inside the Port of Tyne, and provided many services, such as issuing seafarers documentation, oral exams and eye tests, it was also a base for the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Surveyors.
The office was earmarked for closure in September this year but the closure was unexpectedly brought forward to March. The Office now sits in South Tyneside College with reduced functions.
On behalf of local seafarers Emma argued that the valuable counter service that provided discharge books; training record books; seamen’s cards and other certification – including duplicates of lost certificates – needed to be restored. Emma also pressed for assurances that the new office would continue for the long term to carry out oral exams, since the hold the national record for the amount of exams conducted.
Emma also raised concerns over the changes to surveyor working arrangements, highlighting the valuable service they provide along our coastline.
You can read the debate and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport’s response here.
Speaking after the debate Emma said “It is an insult to my constituents that not only did the Minister of State responsible for maritime matters not turn up to respond to the debate but that the Under Secretary of State came to the debate so ill prepared and unable to answer any of the questions put to him. What he did speak about a lot was the Maritime Growth Study which shows this Government has a strange idea of what constitutes growth. Closures and depletion of services such as this is a retrograde step and certainly not one that will encourage growth’’.