THE Fife Ness coastguard station in Crail is set for an earlier than expected closure.
It was announced last summer that the East Neuk base would be axed as part of a major plan to restructure the service.
Staff knew closure was inevitable but had expected the premises to stay open possibly until the end of the current financial year in 2013.
Instead, a local spokesman said the Fife Ness base would begin winding-down operations on September 28, with an official closure date of December 31.
The Forth area surveyed by Crail will be taken over by Aberdeen colleagues, from the end of September.
The local station currently has around 15 full-time employees, made up of administration workers and 12 watch-keeping staff.
Around half a dozen will be transferring to Aberdeen, while others will be offered redundancy packages.
The spokesman said: “We knew this was going to happen. We have been running quite short-handed here and the station has become unsustainable.”
The original closure announcement by Government transport and shipping ministers was fiercely criticised by those who felt lives may be put at risk.
The spokesman, however, said Crail staff in Aberdeen would have local knowledge and communication was instant if any incidents occurred.