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41% of Murco workers have found new jobs



saddazREBECCA EVANS AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has welcomed the actions laid out in a letter to AMs by the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport to help those affected by the collapse of the sale of the Murco refinery in Milford Haven – both directly and indirectly.
The letter from the Minister to all AMs outlines all that the Welsh Government’s Taskforce – put in place following the devastating news last year that the site would end its refinery work – has done and is doing to help the local economy and the employees recover. The Murco Taskforce meets regularly to help implement a delivery plan that has so far seen 41% of employees find alternative employment, with more than half of those in Pembrokeshire.
Welcoming the actions being taken Mrs Evans said: “The Welsh Government did all it could to try and help secure a sale, and has also been quick to act since the announcement that the sale had fallen through. I am pleased that the Minister quickly put into place a dedicated taskforce and delivery plan. The Minister has also recognised that the contractors, sub contractors and the further parts of the supply chain in need of attention. I also welcome the promise from the Minister that any future developments of the A40 will include contractual requirements to maximise spend in the local economy with the appointment of local businesses and individuals.”
The actions currently being taken by the task-force include:
• Delivery plan to secure alternative employment for displaced workers with help from industry employers, notably Valero
• Workshops and training sessions run by companies including Penna
• Business Wales Start Up & High Potential Starts Programme help and support to help people set up their own business
• Careers Wales action to support and help develop ReAct funded action plans
• The Wales Economic Growth Zone for Pembrokeshire with Welsh Government match funding which has attracted nearly £3.3 million of projects so far
• SME Capital Grant fund (closing at the end of the month) which has attracted 18 companies to apply
• A bespoke workforce development intervention will be launched at the end of February
The South Pembrokeshire Labour party have also released a statement regarding supporting those who have lost their jobs due to Murco’s closure:
According to new figures released by the Welsh Government, 41% of former workers at the Murco oil refinery have found work elsewhere, and more than half of these jobs are within Pembrokeshire. In an update on the Welsh Government’s efforts to mitigate the threat to the local economy posed by the closure of Murco, Economic Minister Edwina Hart said 324 of the original 532 Murco employees and contractors have now been made redundant, with a further 72 finishing this quarter. The sale of the Murco site is underway and is expected to be finalised in June.
One ex-employee who didn’t want to use his real name, but was known on site as ‘Honey Monster’  was devastated when he lost his job last November has told us things are looking up:  “I was gutted last November as I loved working there, but things change and I’ve got myself a new start with a local company, and I’m really happy.”
Mrs Hart praised the work of the Murco Taskforce to support those who had lost their jobs:  “I welcome the significant progress that has been made to secure alternative employment for displaced Murco workers. I also welcome the fact that through the commitment, focus and coordinated efforts of the Taskforce there is a clear route of actions to retain the high skilled Murcoworkforce within Wales.”
Delyth Evans, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, said it was very important for the Welsh Government to maintain its focus on supporting the local economy because of the massive impact of the Murco closure.  “Contractors and sub-contractors have been hit exceptionally hard as well as those directly employed by Murco. I am pleased the Minister and the Task Force are keeping up their efforts to provide assistance. The focus has to be on identifying opportunities for developing the regional economy in a way that is sustainable for the future, by supporting local
businesses, improving skills and training, and bringing in new investment.”
Stephen Crabb MP called for a new focus on tidal energy following closure of Murco when asked about supporting ex-Murco workers.
The MP emphasised the importance of a new strategy for the local economy following the closure of Murco. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment rose in Preseli Pembrokeshire last month, and the local MP has stated his commitment to addressing this important matter.
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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’



THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here:

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head



ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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Milford Haven child sex offender Colin Sharpe jailed for 10 years



A MILFORD HAVEN child abuser sat crying in court as details of his four-year long abuse of a schoolgirl were read out.

Colin Sharpe’s teenage victim says she is now “plagued by nightmares” that he will return and abuse her again, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Sharpe, 40, of Howarth Close was told by Judge Paul Thomas QC at Swansea Crown Court that “Your only concern was your own selfish sexual pleasure.”

The court heard that after the matter was reported to police and officers began a search for tSharpe. He was found in his vehicle in a car park at St Ann’s Head.

The court was told that police used their car to block Sharpe’s exist from the car park but he “sped off” across the grass towards the cliff edge before crashing into a fence.

The defendant abandoned his vehicle and made off on foot to the clifftop. A standoff then developed during which police brought in a specialist negotiator to talk him down.

After a lengthy negotiation Sharpe was arrested.

Passing sentence, the judge told Sharpe: “You had no concern for the psychological damage you did.”

He added: “But it is to your credit that you immediately admitted what you had done; this had saved his victim the further ordeal of giving evidence in a trial.

Judge Paul Thomas jailed Sharpe for 10 years and imposed an indefinite order requiring him to sign the sexual offences register on release.

Sharpe will now be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order when he is released.

As The Herald previously reported, Sharpe, who has been on remand since March, admitted one charge of sexual assault and five of sexual activity with a child, all between July 2017 and March 2021.

Police were informed about the sexual abuse by a third party, who discovered what he had done, and he was arrested and questioned early last year.

Earlier, Ian Wright, counsel for the CPS said that Sharpe used “emotional blackmail to frighten the girl into staying silent”.

He added “Matters seem to have come to a head on March 12 this year after Sharpe had once again sexually abused his victim.”

Dean Pulling, defending, said that when the police interviewed Sharpe he gave ‘guilty pleas and admissions’ at the earliest opportunity.

Excerpts from a personal victim statement highlighting the ongoing ordeal of Sharpe’s teenage victim were also read out in court.

“I am having nightmares,” the statement reads.

“I have nightmares of him coming back from prison and starting to do worse. My life has been greatly affected.”

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