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Coastguard Changes

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 11:26am 20th October 2014 (Updated 1:00pm 20th October 2014)

Officials insist Cornwall's coast will not be more dangerous as Falmouth coastguard is plugged into a national monitoring centre.

It will mean calls for help off the Duchy's coast could be answered in Hampshire.

Brixham coastguard closes completely next month but the Pendennis Point HQ was saved and will take on more responsibility.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency says Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) is to become part of the new Coastguard national network for the very first time this week.

Work has been carried out at the search and rescue coordination centre at Pendennis Point, upgrading the technology and introducing new systems. This means Falmouth CGOC will be connected to the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Hampshire and other Coastguard stations around the country, which will be able to offer mutual support during busy periods.

From Saturday 1 November 2014, Falmouth CGOC and the new national network will start to take on operations from Brixham Coastguard.

The changes to Her Majesty's Coastguard will see the NMOC and 10 other CGOCs around the UK work together to manage the workload. There will be no reduction in rescue resources. The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue units will be unaffected.

James Instance, Maritime Operations Controller at Falmouth CGOC, said: "The public won't notice any difference to the way search and rescue missions are responded to. If you call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or issue a mayday broadcast, we will still be here to help you.

"The only change is that we'll have a new national network that will be able to oversee and assist with operations around the whole of the UK. Here at Falmouth CGOC we're now part of this network, so we can call upon help from our fellow Coastguards elsewhere in the country, and also in turn help them out if needed."

Peter Davies was manager at Brixham Coastguard and has now taken up a new role at the NMOC.

He said: "This new state-of-the-art network will ensure that we are better prepared and will improve how we manage the workload. It's key to remember though that the changes affect how we deliver the coordination to search and rescue incidents, but the rescue teams in your community are unaffected. There will still be the same number of lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Teams, helicopters and other rescue resources.

"I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Brixham Coastguard, who have served the community with the upmost professionalism over many years. I am pleased that some are staying with the Coastguard and have relocated to roles elsewhere."

The new national network is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

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