Great Yarmouth coastguard centre to close in May 2013

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Great Yarmouth's coastguard coordination centre will close in May 2013, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said.

Former Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced its closure in 2011.

MCA said from 1 May the Humber and Thames stations would be responsible for monitoring the coast from Gayton Le Marsh in Lincs to Southwold in Suffolk.

Staff have been offered redeployment, but about 25 jobs at the centre could be lost.

The centre is one of eight that were outlined to be shut by the government to modernise the service.

'Move with the times'

Bases in Forth and Clyde in Scotland have already been closed. The new UK coastguard network is due to be fully operational by 2015.

MCA said there would be no reduction in frontline rescue resources and the availability of lifeboats, helicopters, coastguard teams and other rescue facilities in the area would be "wholly unaffected".

Sir Alan Massey, chief executive of MCA, said: "Safety is our top priority and I am confident that HM Coastguard will maintain the same high quality search and rescue service as they always have done."

Mario Siano, watch manager at Great Yarmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, said: "I don't want Yarmouth to close, no-one does, but you've got to move with the times and be at the best value for taxpayers".

He added all staff had been offered redeployment and it was hoped that many would move to the Humber and Thames stations to improve their knowledge of the area.

Local councillors, unions and boat owners had previously campaigned against the closure.

Peter Wheeler, from PCS, said the union's position had not changed and it was still opposed to the closure.

He said he believed local knowledge of the area would be lost, but hoped that changes to the coastguard network would be successful.

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