The marine rescue unit in the western Estonian town of Haapsalu is to be disbanded in the coming weeks, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
The unit, part of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) was seen as surplus to requirements, PPA spokesperson Marge Kohtla told regional daily Lääne Elu, largely due to the presence of volunteer maritime units in the region.
However, Janno Aser, chief of the volunteer body in Haapsalu, told the paper that it is ill-equipped to take over all the PPA's tasks, in particular maritime surveillance, which will effectively disappear.
This could lead to a worsening of maritime safety, and probably a larger workload than that which the PPA and volunteers had between them, Aser said.
The PPA says that resources from the Maritime Administration (Veeteedeamet), under the direction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs Communications, as well as those from the Environmental Inspectorate (Keskkonnainspektsioon), and the private-sector Eesti Loots piloting services company will plug the gap left by the departing PPA service.
The reorganization will lead to a reported 11 job losses.
State reform has been a key issue in recent months, with several state agencies across various ministries and government bodies likely to see mergers and cuts in the near future.
Editor: Andrew Whyte