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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 05:22 GMT 06:22 UK
North coastguard station closes
Three stations have closed in the national review
Coastguard responsibilities for the North East pass to Humberside on Friday with the closure of the Tyne Tees station at Tynemouth.

New digital equipment has been installed at a station in Bridlington, which will monitor the waters from Berwick to the Humber estuary.

The closure is the third to take place as part of a national restructuring.

Objectors have said the closure could put lives at risk, but Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officials said the new equipment will improve communcations.

New digital equipment has been introduced

Tynemouth Station is a familiar site to local people, perched on cliff tops next to the ancient Tynemouth Priory.

David Harding, of the MCA, said: "The station at Tynemouth will finish at lunchtime on Friday.

"The co-ordination work that was done from there will move, but the lifeboats and helicopters will still be in place as they were before.

"The digital system is a considerable advance, and has one advantage in that it can be used to co-ordinate movements many miles away.

"People are always fearful of change, but some of the Tyneside team are taking their expertise down to Humberside."

There were 22 full-time employees, with the majority taking early retirement, or early severance because they were aged under 50.

Grassroots knowledge

Pentland Coastguard station in Orkney closed in December 2000, with the loss of 12 jobs.

As well as Tynemouth and Pentland, the station at Oban has also been shut.

The closure programme has provoked protests from fishermen, politicians and seafarers who said the changes would put lives at risk.

But the MCA said safety will not be compromised because grassroots knowledge will remain in the form of rescue teams and other support services.

Click here to go to BBC Tyne Online

Click here to go to BBC Humber Online
See also:

15 Dec 00 | Scotland
Coastguard station shuts down
02 Aug 00 | Scotland
Tanker coastguards praised
29 Sep 00 | Scotland
Coastguard station signs off
08 Aug 98 | UK Politics
Union anger over coastguard closures
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