South West Wales

Swansea Coastguard closure water protest

Campaigners fighting to save Swansea's coastguard station have taken to the water to protest over its closure.

Sailors, fishermen, surfers and beach goers were among around 200 people who took part in a 'floating protest' near the station in Mumbles.

The UK Government plans to close it by 2015 as part of a shake-up.

Campaigners claim it will risk lives not just off the Swansea and Gower coastlines but across the whole Bristol Channel.

Swansea, with a staff of 28, is one of eight coastguard stations to undergo phased closures.

The protest took place off Knab Rock in Mumbles.

Campaign co-ordinator Mike Dubens said: "If Swansea Coastguard were to close, the repercussions would be just devastating.

"The facts speak for themselves as Swansea Coastguard saw to over 2,000 incidents just in 2010 alone, making it the second busiest station in the UK, whereas our neighbouring station in Milford Haven, which is to remain open, didn't see to half the number of incidents."

Retired Swansea coastguard Terry Moore said: "In Swansea we've got over 140 years of local knowledge and experienced passed down from watch to watch and that's going to be thrown away and wasted.

"If they are to make cuts then they should look at stations that are not so busy."

Under initial plans Milford and Holyhead stations in Wales were to close but after protests there the UK government changed its mind and wants to close Swansea instead.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said Swansea was being closed due to the higher level of government employment in the city.

The coastguard agency has insisted the changes would mean more officers would be available round the clock.

A consultation on the proposals closes on 6 October.

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