National Maritime Operations Centre

The MCA has confirmed that responsibility for the areas managed by Solent and Portland Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC) will move to the new National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Fareham in September.

MRCC Solent's responsibilities will begin to be handed over on 8th September followed by MRCC Portland's on 15th September. The two MRCCs will then close as part of the planned modernisation of HM Coastguard.

Testing started at the NMOC earlier in the year, with an extensive programme assessing core operational systems and procedures. Through the Coastguard's National Exercise Catalogue, a variety of scenarios have been used to ensure that Coastguards can manage low, medium and high levels of workload, with business as usual activity on top.

Some of these were live exercises that involved lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Teams.

47 Coastguards will be working at the new centre from September, but this will increase to 96 Coastguards once the national network is fully operational in December 2015.

No effect on service

The MCA has stated that there will be no difference in the service received.

The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats and search and rescue helicopters will be unaffected.

999 calls and distress broadcasts will be dealt with and search and rescue missions co-ordinated as they are presently.

There will be no change to Maritime Safety Information broadcasts.

The telephone numbers for Solent and Portland MRCCs for general enquiries will not change after the handover to NMOC and can continue to be used, however, a new national number will be introduced in the future.

Call sign 'Solent Coastguard'

The radio call sign 'Solent Coastguard' should be used in the former Solent and Portland areas. There is no change to VHF and MF radio coverage by HM Coastguard.