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Sea Rescue: Northern Ireland

Transport written question – answered on 3rd February 2011.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance, Belfast East

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the potential effects of closure of the coastguard station in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

The proposals to restructure HM Coastguard are currently out to public consultation and include an option either to close the Belfast Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) or to make it a daytime only operation.

Neither option will impact on our ability to co-ordinate search and rescue (SAR); implementing the proposals will mean that this can be done from any location.

In terms of the effect on staff, if a decision was made to close Belfast, staff could apply for vacancies at a new Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) or a sub-Centre, the wider Coastguard, or the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Opportunities would also be given to apply to the wider civil service. Only after all these opportunities were exhausted, would the redundancy be considered. If a decision was made to make Belfast MRCC a sub-centre, staff would be given the same options, including the option to apply for a post in the same location.

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