Swansea Coastguard staff can plan future with closure date
COASTGUARD officers say they can start planning for the future, now a date has been set for the closure of the service's Swansea base.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency this week finally announced the timetable confirming the closure of stations at Brixham, Liverpool, Thames, Portland, Solent and Swansea.
The stations are to be replaced by nine 24-hour bases around the UK, co-ordinated from Southampton, which the agency say will be more effective.
Swansea will close in March 2015.
Although campaigners say they remain concerned about the affect on sea safety, they concede that the end to uncertainty surrounding the process has made it possible for those officers affected to begin to make arrangements for their future.
Mike Dubens, of the Save Swansea Coastguard campaign, said: "It remains a shame that the MCA and Department of Transport have not listened to the voices of the petition from South Wales and South West England, which was around 117,000 names, as well as the local authorities throughout the areas.
"But I am glad for the staff in Swansea, in that they now finally have a date, which ends the uncertainty. It gives them time to sort our their careers.
"The proof will be in the pudding when the new system is implemented, and we will find out whether our fears have been justified.
"I hope it copes, and that we are not looking back at future fatalities in our waters."
Coastguard officer Steve Matthews, based at Swansea's centre in Mumbles, a member of the coastguard's Public and Commercial Services union, added: "The PCS union is still bitterly disappointed about the closure of Swansea, but the redundancy packages which have been negotiated, as well as the future terms and conditions for those who stay in the service, are as successful as we could have hoped for. I don't think the PCS and the MCA could have saved the station."