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Tug safety training offered at Port

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A POWERFUL virtual-reality ship simulation system, operated by the Port of Milford Haven is running courses to train tug boat operators from across Britain.

The Navigation Suite, based at Milford Waterfront, creates highly realistic computer-generated versions of any port in the world, giving trainees the opportunity to take the controls of any vessel, including tugboats, to practice scenarios.

Tug skippers from Williams Marine Services and Teignmouth Harbour Commission spent two days undertaking theory based safety training and working on simulated ‘as real’ scenarios within the port.

Training focused on the dangers around small conventional tug handling, the importance of good communication between pilots and tug handlers, and working in poor weather conditions.

Harbourmaster and Chief Executive Officer at Teignmouth Harbour Commission, Commander David Vaughan, put some of his team through the course.

He said: “Our employees returned from the course with nothing but praise for an excellent, well run and well-presented course. There has been a gap in the market for this kind of training for small port tug operators which has now been filled.”

Steve Hardcastle, Deputy Harbourmaster at the Port of Milford Haven, manages the simulation suite.

“This facility enables maritime professionals to get bespoke training in a safe environment,” said Steve.

“The cutting-edge technology means that any type of incident can be replicated in any location. The suite is operated by marine professionals and pilots and who have experienced the scenarios that are presented during the exercises, so they are well placed to oversee the training. This course is overseen by David Brown of DB Marine, a very experienced tug professional.”

Built using MARIN’s latest software, DOLPHIN, the navigation suite can introduce additional environmental and hydrodynamic forces, and gives Tug Masters or Boat Masters the opportunity to carry out the towage of single or multiple barge movements either pulling, pushing or ‘hipped up’ depending on the size of the barge or pontoon.

They work in simulated form on small and some larger ships understanding and realising the dangers of connecting up, girting and under the bow towage.

For more information about training at the navigation simulation suite please contact Steve Hardcastle on 01646 696100 or enquiries@mhpa.co.uk. Alternatively visit www.mhpa.co.uk/marine-simulator to watch a video of the facility.

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Neyland: Public meeting ‘to protest against proposed surgery closure’

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A PUBLIC meeting has been arranged for Neyland residents to protest about the proposed closure of St Clement’s Surgery.

Argyle Medical Group has submitted an application to Hywel Dda Local Health Board to close the Branch Surgery at St. Clements Neyland.

It says this action to be the only option to enable a safe level of clinical care to be offered to all its registered patients at a time “when recruitment and retention of clinical staff is extremely challenging.”

Cllr Hancock said: “A public meeting will be held at Neyland Athletic Club next Thursday 25 January at 7pm to protest against the proposed closure of St. Clement’s Surgery.

He added: “It cannot be allowed to happen!”

Argyle Medical said on its Facebook page: “The reason for this application is to consolidate & maintain patient care services at a time of reduced GP numbers at the practice. Despite concerted attempts at GP recruitment over recent years the practice has been unsuccessful. The practice has been successful in recruiting a further Nurse & Pharmacy practitioner & is continuing to try to recruit further such practitioners.

“The practice plans to increase its capacity to deal with urgent medical problems by offering increased clinical practitioner appointments. These practitioners will be backed up by a GP to provide immediate advice as needed. It is planned this service will be provided from Argyle Surgery, Pembroke Dock alone.

“Argyle Medical Group will continue to provide the full range General Medical Services to its registered patients in Neyland and the surrounding area. In order to facilitate the enhanced same-day service at Argyle Surgery it is proposed that appointments at St. Oswald’s Surgery, Pembroke will change from a same day to a pre-booked appointment system.”

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Burns victim remanded in custody following flat fire

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DESPITE needing specialist medical care, a Pembroke Dock woman was remanded to prison by Haverfordwest Magistrates on Tuesday (Jan 16).

Hayley James suffered significant and ‘life-threatening’ burns in a blaze she is alleged to have started in her flat in Commercial Row, Pembroke Dock.

James is charged with arson with intent to endanger life regarding the fire, which began at around 6.30am on December 2.

No pleas were entered by the defendant The Crown alleged the accused put not only herself but the occupants of other flats at significant risk of harm.

As she had now been discharged from hospital after weeks of treatment, the Prosecution submitted that James should be remanded in custody.

Responding to prosecutor Vaughan Pritchard-Jones’ request that his client be remanded to prison, defence solicitor Mark Layton pointed out that his client had only recently been discharged following intensive treatment, which had included a tracheotomy: “On her most recent ward, she was given a great deal of flexibility. Her partner, the gentleman at the back of the court, has been visiting her.

“She has been allowed freedom to go out and have a cigarette she can’t walk so far as she suffered significant burn injuries.”

After pointing out that his client’s mobility was severely restricted and she was unable to get about without a stick or wheelchair, Mr Layton continued: “Miss James has suffered significant injuries in this incident. Putting her in prison is not going to be of assistance to her.”

Mr Layton suggested a range of bail conditions and pointed out that his client was not subject to strict supervision of the ward, while she was an inpatient: “My client was arrested on discharge from the ward, prior to that she was not treated with the normal degree of supervision.”

Mr Layton told the court: “The care she needs is simply not available in a prison environment. We would like to think that is the case, but I would suggest very strongly is that the care you will receive at liberty, would be better than the case you would get at liberty. When you have serious burns you need a level of care, I do not think that level of care would be available.

“I would suggest that in those circumstances that the interest of justice can be properly served with the imposition of bail conditions. The concerns the Crown and court will then be properly met.”

After retiring to consider their decision, the Chairman of the Bench told James of the Magistrates decision to remand her to prison.

Expressing sympathy for her condition, he reflected on the seriousness of the charges faced and told the accused: “We are remanding you in custody for your own protection after these dreadful events.”

James is to appear at Swansea Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on February 13, at 10am.

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£350k fine for company which made 75m nuisance calls

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A COMPANY which made 75 million nuisance calls in four months has been fined £350,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Miss-sold Products UK Ltd made the automated marketing calls between November 16, 2015, and March  7, 2016. The calls contained recorded messages, primarily promoting PPI compensation claims, but the company did not have the recipients’ consent for making marketing calls, which is against the law.

It also broke the law by failing to identify the organisation making the calls, while it used so-called ‘added value’ numbers that generate revenue when an individual calls the number, which is then apportioned and passed to associated companies and the network carrier.

The ICO received 146 complaints from the public about Miss-sold Products. Some people were called on multiple occasions. Others said they were unable to opt out of receiving the calls. Some expressed further distress as they were concerned that calls late at night may have been from family members or those to whom they provided care.

The director of Miss-sold – which had its registered office at 10A North Road, Milford Haven, Wales, before it was moved in 2017 to Darlington, County Durham – had applied to strike it off the Companies House Register but the ICO has blocked the move pending enforcement action.

This is to allow all options to be considered for recovery of the penalty, and for the actions of the director in running the company to be fully scrutinised.

ICO Enforcement Group Manager Andy Curry said: “This company blatantly ignored the laws on telephone marketing, making a huge volume of intrusive calls over a short period of time and without any apparent attempt to ensure they had the consent of the people they were harassing.

“The ICO will come down hard on rogue operators who want to treat the law and the UK public with contempt. We hope the Government will bring forward plans to introduce personal liability for directors as a matter of urgency, to stop them from escaping punishment after profiting from nuisance calls and texts.

“In the absence of a change in the law, the ICO will continue to face challenges in the recovery of penalties, and rogue directors will think they can get away with causing nuisance to members of the public.”

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