The new national network is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, with the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) operating from autumn 2014.
The introduction of the national network will enable the NMOC and all the other 10 Coastguard Operation Centres (CGOC) to work together to manage the workload on a national scale. This means in a search and rescue incident, even though the coordination will still be managed by the relevant CGOC, there will be a much bigger and better support network available nationally.
There will be no reduction in rescue resources, which remain unchanged by the modernisation of HM Coastguard. The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue assets will be unaffected.
A key outcome from the modernisation plan is more rewarding Coastguard jobs, with additional responsibilities and the appropriate pay to match.
Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said:
“This is an exciting time. We are moving into a new era for HM Coastguard that will reinforce the ability of our staff to ensure the safety of seafarers and the public. We want to continue being a world-class organisation that is committed to preventing loss of life, improving maritime safety, and protecting the marine environment. At the same time, our Coastguards can look forward to more satisfying and better rewarded careers.
“We realise that this whole change programme will be tough for some of our people, particularly those who feel that they have no future with HM Coastguard. We recognise that, and will do our very best to work with every individual to ensure they are properly equipped and supported in making the best decision for them.”