Coastguard need more staff says MP

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, visits Liverpool Coastguard
Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, visits Liverpool Coastguard
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A Blackpool MP says the Government has “some serious questions to answer” about the closure of a coastguard station - after he made a personal visit to the site.

Gordon Marsden MP for Blackpool South met with staff and members of the Public and Commercial Services union to discuss the impending closure of Liverpool Coastguard station, in Crosby, in January next year.

The decision forms part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency plans to create one master station for the whole of the North West in Holyhead, North Wales.

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, fears there will be a lack of local knowledge when the station is replaced by the one in Holyhead, near Anglesey, and has called on the Government to put a recruitment policy in place to replace staff taking retirement.

Mr Marsden said: “As far as I can see it needs a dedicated team with local knowledge to look after that crowded area, and that will be very important.

“There is clearly a national need to recruit a significant number of people.

“We know a lot of people are going to take retirement with these changes and I’m told about 24 to 25 people are entering into a training course, but that’s for the whole country, and the Government has some serious questions to answer.

“The closure of the Liverpool site will come sometime in January and run in parallel with Holyhead for about a month.

“I’m concerned that will not be an adequate period of time, and we must make sure we can be happy.”

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “As part of the modernisation of HM Coastguard, 999 calls and distress broadcasts will still be dealt with and search and rescue missions coordinated just like before.

“However, the introduction of a ‘national network’ will enable the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) and all the other 10 Coastguard Operation Centres (CGOC) to manage incidents nationally, rather than locally, as happens now.”