Coastguard station hit by staffing cuts

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Liverpool Coastguard is one of seven station that will be closed by 2015.© @Coastguard_SOS/Facebook

Liverpool Coastguard is one of seven station that will be closed by 2015.© @Coastguard_SOS/Facebook

Liverpool Coastguard’s crew, which covers an area of approximately 2,100 square miles, will be reduced to just eight members from the optimal number of 23 before the busy summer months.

Staffing cuts are to be made ahead of the eventual closure of the coastguard station in 2015, which was announced in July 2011.

Keith Roberts, PCS branch secretary at Holyhead Coastguard, told the BBC he fears that the decision to reduce coastguard staff may put lives at risk. As the numbers of the Liverpool Coastguard station in Crosby are reduced, this is set to increase pressure on Holyhead, which will effectively be covering from mid-Wales up to Scotland.

Public and Commercial Services Union official Stuart Atkinson agrees. He told JMU Journalism: “I am concerned this will affect public safety. Obviously, people can see the writing on the wall. They know that people are going to lose jobs, so many of our most experienced members have decided to quit. This is a job that requires a lot of training… you can’t just put out an advert to replace them.”

In 2015, Liverpool Coastguard will be joining the ranks of Swansea, Clyde, Portland, Yarmouth, Brixham and Thames and centres facing closure.

Liverpool is ranked among the UK’s major container ports, handling over 40% of all freight shipping between Britain and Ireland. There is also a growing number of cruise ships visiting the port, with over 750 000 people travelling on the Irish Sea ferry services annually.

The shutdown of the old and traditional coastguard stations have been condemned by union officials, who intend to fight on to keep the station open.

About Eivind Haugstad-Kleiven, JMU Journalism