Falmouth Coastguard – reduce or expand?

[Update: I’ve kept this here for historical interest – MRCC Falmouth was indeed reprieved (it is now a Coastguard Operations Centre, or CGOC), although other smaller stations such as Brixham were closed and transferred to a National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham]

To any amateur sailor or professional seafarer navigating the Cornish coast – or indeed much of the North Altantic – the phrase “Falmouth Coastguard” has an immediate comforting recognition.  Yet, in new proposals to modernise and streamline the Coastguard service, Falmouth would be reduced to daytime-only working, and it’s pretty clear that the current long-range cover would be moved out of Cornwall to a new facility in the Solent area, with the loss of a significant number of high-value jobs.

The consultation document gives some very good reasons why the Coastguard service needs to be modernised and make use of new technology to be more efficient and resilient.  I’m all for public sector efficiency savings!  The issue for Cornwall should be why the new “South Maritime Operations Centre” (MOC) should be built in new premises in the Solent area rather than expanding the Falmouth facility.  If we can change that one aspect, this could be a win for Cornwall – and for maritime safety – rather than a loss.

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