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Full report: Hoax calls to coastguards 'risks lives'

Portland Coastguard has received twelve hoax calls in the past fortnight. They're all believed to come from one man using a marine band radio.

The Coastguard says it's not only wasted hours of their time and thousands of pounds in helicopter costs, it could mean real emergencies aren't dealt with as well as they should be, putting lives at risk. John Andrews reports.

HMS Portland completes frontline training

HMS Portland operational training Credit: Royal Navy

The Royal Naval frigate HMS Portland is on 24-hour duty protecting the UK coastline after completing training for frontline duties.

HMS Portland is at 24 hours’ notice to respond to immediate events as Britain’s on-call warship in home waters having also undergone a £27m refit.

HMS Portland in training Credit: Royal Navy

This is the ship’s first tasking after a 12-month refit and seven months of intensive training off the South Coast which included six weeks of basic operational sea training – which prepares the ship for any frontline tasking worldwide - from war to humanitarian.

Leading Steward Stacey Billet treats patient on evacuation exercise Credit: Royal Navy

The ship’s crew has worked hard to hone their war-fighting capability in addition to developing their fire-fighting skills off the SW coast by taking part in realistic exercises simulating a maritime convoy escorting supplies to a conflict-hit country.

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Appeal for witnesses after lobsters stolen from beach

Pubs are restaurants in the area of Portland are being asked to be vigilant after lobsters were stolen on the island.

It happened overnight between Sunday (5/5) and Monday (6/5) at Stone Pier in Castletown.

Offenders dragged a large lobster cage on to the beach and stole most of its contents.

Police Constable Sally Ludlow, of Portland Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The lobsters that were stolen are worth a substantial amount of money.

“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed this incident or saw any suspicious activity around the time in that area to come forward.

“In particular, I ask pub and restaurants in the area of Portland, Weymouth and Bridport to be vigilant and report to the police anyone selling lobsters and shellfish for unusually low prices.

  1. West Country (E)

Cruise liner to stay in dock

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued a statement following its inspection of the Discovery cruise liner in Portland, Dorset.

It says that the vessel will stay put until safety issues over drills and training have been addressed.

Following inspections on Friday 1 March, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a Detention Notice on the passenger ship Discovery, preventing the vessel from sailing at this time.

This will remain in place whilst the owners and crew undertake revisions to their safety management system."

– MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY

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  1. West Country (E)

Inspection found safety issues

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has told us that officials went on board the Discovery at the end of last week as part of a routine inspection, and found a number of issues with 'safety management systems'.

This related to crew familiarisation of the ship and training.

The MCA ordered that the vessel should remain in place until the owners had made a number of improvements.

  1. West Country (E)

Disappointment for hundreds of holidaymakers

Seven hundred passengers have been told that their cruise, a two-week trip around Norway, has been suddenly cancelled.

The Discovery was originally scheduled to sail from Avonmouth but, due to tidal restrictions, it was re-routed to Portland in Dorset at the end of last week.

24 coaches transferred all passengers to Portland but the Captain then informed everyone on board that the cruise could not go ahead due to 'technical reasons'.

Passengers will all receive a full refund and £250 compensation per person.

The firm says that Discovery should be ready for its next scheduled departure from Avonmouth on March 15th.

Could we lose our rescue helicopters? Full report

They say lives will be lost if it's scrapped but today campaigners fighting to save the coastguard helicopter at Portland in Dorset were dealt a bitter blow.

Half the 18 coastguard co-ordination centres around the country - including Portland and Lee-on-the-Solent - are to close and are being replaced by a new national centre near Fareham. The re-orgnisation will also see the Dorset search and rescue helicopter axed in the next five years.

Hopes were raised after the Transport Select Committee called for public consultation about the plans. But, as Kerry Swain reports, the new Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond appeared to have made his mind up.

We also hear from Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset.

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