Coastguard and maritime unions PCS and RMT have demanded a halt to the government's planned cuts programme to coastal rescue centres.
The call comes as it emerged that one threatened facility, Clyde, is set to be closed in December with no replacement capacity until at least April 2013, leaving the area with "hopelessly inadequate" cover for months.
The unions say the reorganisation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is simply a cuts-led exercise that will have devastating implications for safety at sea.
The Clyde closure plan also appears to go against a committment Maritime Minister Mike Penning gave to Parliament in November that no centres would close "before the robustness of the system is demonstrated."
The proposals would slash 140 jobs and close nine coastguard stations around Britain: Brixham, Clyde, Forth, Liverpool, Portland, Solent, Swansea, Thames and Yarmouth.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
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