Coastguard closures taking effect
A UK-wide programme of coastguard station closures began to bite yesterday.
Forth Coastguard, on the east coast of Scotland, closed its doors for the final time.
Swansea Coastguard — or maritime and rescue coordination centre — is also on the closure list but is due to continue serving its vast geographical area until 2015.
The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) said there will be no reduction in frontline rescue services as a result of the closures - but opponents have branded them a "disgrace".
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Sir Alan Massey, MCA chief executive, 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."
Dennis O'Connor, of the National Coastguard SOS Campaign Group, said: "The plan to close stations is an absolute disgrace."
He claimed the action would expose the public to greater risk than previously.