End of line for Yarmouth coastguardsThursday 24th November 2011
The coastguard co-ordination centre at Great Yarmouth is to close, along with seven others around the UK.
Shipping minister Mike Penning told MPs the changes would result in a "modernised, nationally networked, fully resilient'' service.
But Suffolk and Norfolk MEP Richard Howitt, who has helped lead the campaign against the closures, said he would write to the European Commission calling on them to review whether the decision could breach EU rules on maritime safety and coastal protection. He insisted it was wrong to leave no coastguard presence anywhere on the East Anglian coastline and warned that it was a disaster waiting to happen.
“If my family goes on a pleasure boat ride or my children go swimming in the sea, I don't want the fear that any emergency would be dealt with from Humberside or Southampton, but that fear is today made real,” he added.
As well as Yarmouth, coordination centres will be closed at Swansea, Portland in Dorset, Clyde and Forth in Scotland, Liverpool, Brixham in Devon, and Walton on the Naze in Essex with a total loss of 159 jobs.
A new central Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) will be located at Fareham in Hampshire, Mr Penning told the Government. It will be supported by round-the-clock co-ordination centres at Falmouth in Cornwall; Milford Haven and Holyhead in Wales; Bangor in Northern Ireland; Shetland, Aberdeen and Stornoway in Scotland; and Humber.
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