Protests fail - nine stations to close

Shipping minister Mike Penning announced on 22 November that proposals for

reorganisation of the Coastguard service have been formally approved by the

government.

The bulk of

the proposals were released in July, after extensive public consultation, with

a few outstanding points held back for further consideration.

This period

saw an outpouring of protest from communities that stood to lose their

facilities. Much of the argument came from the widespread belief that a loss of

local knowledge would lead to the new service proving less effective.

The new

service, however, will be nationally networked. It will hinge upon a Maritime

Operations Centre
(MOC), sited at Fareham in Hampshire, with a standby MOC at

Dover.

Eight other

centres spread around the UK will link to the national network, all operating

24/7. These will be based at existing Coastguard stations at:

Aberdeen
Shetland

Stornoway
Belfast
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Humber

A small unit

sited in the Port of London Authority operations centre will oversee the

Thames.

Stations that

are planned to close were predominantly chosen by ‘pairing’ adjacent centres

and retaining the most suitable. These, and the timeframes for their ultimate

closures, are:

Clyde – 2012/13
Forth – 2012/13
Solent – 2013/14
Portland – 2013/14
Yarmouth – 2013/14
Brixham – 2013/14
Liverpool – 2014/15
Thames – 2014/15
Swansea – 2014/15

The volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service remains largely unaffected and will have its regular support officers, who work in coastal communities, increased by 50%.

The full

Department for Transport blueprint document can be read here.

Related stories:

Coastguard closures announced

Portland coastguard petition goes to No 10

MP’s husband dies at sea

Image: MCA