I’m just back from a visit to the fresh National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham. This is the new national headquarters of HM Coastguard and will soon be the nerve centre of that august institution – as it approaches its third century.
It was an informative visit that has left me feeling a bit weird. I am a bit weird, so it must have gone smoothly.
We are living in a world where the our coastguards now work in a shiny The Office-style office in an industrial estate, miles from the coast and with no view of it. The Coastguard’s new address is, and I’m not kidding here: Unit 12, Kites Croft Business Park, Fareham, PO14 4LW.
There was at least a shiny new water feature outside reception, so the Coastguard haven’t lost their connection with the water altogether.
Feelings of uneasiness about a landlocked Coastguard, aside, our visit was well led by Coastguard Officer, Phil Bostock. Phil did a great job and handled our many tricky questions with professional charm. The most surreal moment of the visit came when Phil described how the Coastguard had played an important role in the First World War. “We suffered significant losses in that conflict.” He told us. Phil’s experience prior to joining the Coastguard in 2009…? He was a weapons officer with the German Navy.
A former German naval officer running HM Coastguard from an inland industrial estate… there’s a sitcom in that somewhere.
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