Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and international maritime law and safety policy. It is also responsible for land based search and rescue helicopter operations from 2015.

Its responsibilities include coordinating search and rescue (SAR) on the coastline and at sea through His Majesty's Coastguard (HMCG), ensuring that ships meet international and UK safety standards, monitoring and preventing coastal water pollution and testing and issuing Merchant Navy Certificates of Competency (licences) for ships' officers and crew to STCW requirements The organisation is led by Virginia McVea, its Chief Executive, who took up post in February 2023.The MCA are chiefly responsible for the syllabus and national training standards issued by the Merchant Navy Training Board (based at the UK Chamber of Shipping).

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