THE Clyde Coastguard rescue co-ordination centre at Greenock will close later this year as planned, it has been confirmed, despite a letter from the Prime Minister which appeared to say that Coastguard centres ear-marked for closure would stay open for another two years.
Coastguard campaigners received a copy of a letter from Prime Minister David Cameron to a constutuent which stated: “Those centres that are planned for closure will remain open until 2015 in order to ensure that the planned transitions to the new arrangements will maximise the retention of local knowledge.”
Campaigners issued statements saying the centres -- including Clyde -- had been granted a “reprieve.”
But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) insisted there has been no change to the plan and that Clyde Coastguard will shut in December with its work being transferred to the centres in Belfast and Stornoway.
Navy Buildings, Greenock
An MCA spokesman said: “The reform of Coastguard stations will go ahead as planned. The PM has written to his constituent to clarify the matter. Under the plans the Coastguard co-ordination centres at Forth, Clyde, Great Yarmouth, Liverpool, Thames, Swansea, Brixham and Portland will close progressively by 31 March 2015.
“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) plan to close their base at Clyde [Navy Buildings in Eldon Street] and part of that plan means that the Clyde Coastguard and all its associated equipment must be removed. Staff are already informally aware of the intended closure date of 31 December 2012.
“A change team comprising operational staff from Clyde, Belfast and Stornoway is actively managing the technical and operational work required to achieve the decommissioning of Clyde by 31 December 2012. We aim to transfer operational coordination for Clyde’s area to Belfast and Stornoway by 18 December 2012. This will avoid trying to manage technical switchover during the Christmas period.”