Harbourmaster 'disappointed' at RNLI relationship breakdown
JERSEY'S Harbourmaster says he is 'disappointed' to hear of the breakdown in the relationship between the RNLI and the St Helier crew – after the volunteers signalled their intention to split from the charity.
At an emergency meeting on Monday, the crew said they wanted to break away from the organisation. It follows a tumultuous year for the local crew, during which the volunteers resigned after their coxwain, Andy Hibbs, was sacked. Mr Hibbs was later reinstated and the crew returned to duty.
The crew said they will continue to man the lifeboat until a long-term solution is found.
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In a statement, Harbourmaster Captain Bill Sadler said: 'I am disappointed to hear of the break down in relations between the RNLI and the St Helier crew.
'We recognise and value both the RNLI’s long track record of saving lives in Jersey and also the selfless service of its volunteer crews and we will work hard with both to ensure this continues.
'The RNLI has served Jersey for over 100 years and the Island is indebted to the charity and its volunteers for saving hundreds of lives during that time.
'It has a proven track record, invested heavily in boat design and technology, and its training is second to none. Equally, I have a huge respect for the local volunteer crew, support staff and fundraisers.
'Since becoming Harbourmaster in June 2017, I have made it a priority to strengthen relationships between all organisations involved in search and rescue (SAR) and I’m pleased we’ve made significant progress.
'As Harbourmaster, I have a legal responsibility to coordinate search-and-rescue operations in Jersey’s territorial waters and will therefore continue to work with existing SAR partners, both volunteer and full time to give the most comprehensive provision of search and rescue coverage for the Island as we can and will look to work positively with any new proposed service.'