300 Hear Independent Lifeboat Plans

29th November 2017
Around 300 people packed into the Town Hall last night to hear plans for an independent lifeboat station.
Former St Helier Coxswain Andy Hibbs was given a standing ovation.
The newly-formed Jersey Independent Lifeboat Service Committee told the audience around £2.5 million will be needed to kick-start the idea and buy two vessels from France.
A charity will be set up in the next month so that fundraising can begin.
Some States Members attended, but the Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce – who is representing the government on the lifeboats issue – had told Channel 103 he wouldn’t be there, so as to remain impartial.
Ex-lifeboatsman and committee co-chairman Paul Battrick, spoke passionately about the need for a crew with local knowledge.
“Every pound will stay in Jersey, and be spent in Jersey.”
The audience asked lots of questions about how the island could go it alone.
Andy Hibbs said the money for ‘Jersey Lifeboats’ would need to come from donations and not States coffers, because he would not want public money to be used for something that the island was getting for free from the RNLI.
But there was a suggestion of asking the States for a start-up loan, which Senator Sarah Fergusomn said might be possible if enough people signed the petition.
Further meetings are planned for the coming days in other parts of the island.
The RNLI closed the St Helier lifeboat station earlier this month and took the George Sullivan all-weather boat back to Poole following a bitter row about the treatment of Mr Hibbs.
The RNLI has said 25 people have come forward interested in forming a new crew, and training has begun involving Jersey Fire and Rescue with the aim of getting the inshore rescue boat back in service at the Albert Quay in mid-December.

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