Elec. Telegraph: UK Coast Giard - serious computer problems

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The British Passport Office has experienced extremely serious prblems with its new Y2K-compliant computer system. Now the Coast Guiard is reporting serious glitches with its new Y2K-compliant system. Although the problems were not connected with the rollover, per se, the number of large new systems with serious problems leads me to wonder just how many companies/agencies are awaiting delivery of new systems late in the year.


ISSUE 1523 Tuesday 27 July 1999 Computer faults 'could cost lives during eclipse', By Sean O'Neill

SERIOUS faults in the Coastguard Service's new computer system could put lives at risk during next month's total solar eclipse, according to a leaked internal memo.

Half a million people are expected to be afloat in tens of thousands of small boats off the coasts of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall on Aug 11. But senior coastguard officers fear that they might not be able to provide adequate safety cover.

Richard Day, the region's senior coastguard, said there was "a mountain of faults" in the new system that would handicap his officers on the busiest day of their careers. In a memo to Maurice Storey, chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - a copy of which has been obtained by The Telegraph - Mr Day urged a halt to the programme of installation.

He wrote: "If things remain as they are then I am unable to meet the requirements of the agency during this period. Serious operational flaws have come to light on the system, all of which have been reported to HQ, but there appears to be no resolution in sight.

"Unless some improvement is forthcoming quickly, lives could be put at risk and we may subsequently have to answer some very searching questions. Unless some priority is given to the rectification of these known defects, we will end up with a crisis on our hands in August."

The system was ordered to enable the service to avoid Millennium bug problems. Installation began earlier this year and is scheduled for completion in September. But complaints have been mounting daily. One coastguard officer said: "It has so many glitches and faults and it crashes all the time."

Mr Day's concerns are shared by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents coastguard officers. Brian Day, president of the PCS coastguard section, said: "It is causing extreme problems. Unless this system is sorted out quickly there could be huge problems, especially if it fails during a major event such as the eclipse."

In a statement, the MCA said: "It is true that teething problems with the new hardware have occurred and extra resources are now being brought in to iron out those problems to ensure that all stations are Y2K compliant by the autumn. In the case of stations covering the eclipse, on-site support will be on hand during the period to deal with any problems as necessary."

Mr Day said yesterday that improvements had been made in the computer system since he had written his memo three weeks ago.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 27, 1999


Can you believe that on top of everything coming down the pike there's also a total solar eclipse on 8/11--not that I know how often they occur. High solar acitvity, meteors over New Zealand, Comet Lee-- I'm starting to think they're shooting at us. (The little green people.) Seriously, sorry to say but even we Americans are tied to the cosmos. I believe I need a nice tinfoil hat, too. Do they have to be homemade or can I order one online?

-- Mara Wayne (MaraWayne@aol.com), July 27, 1999.

Wow! Teething problems all the way around. Reports of "Y2K compliant" disasters starting to surface. GPS rollover will stiff navigation for a while. Nostradamus has some things to say about the eclipse and unusual astrological "signs" around these times. It'll all come out in the wash, very soon now. Such interesting times. Just think, within one year so many puzzlements answered! Will there be any wise men left to put the pieces together?

-- 2 frazzled CGs tending a demented pt (allaha@earthlink.net), July 27, 1999.

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