The Coast Guard will shift about 60 people from its offices in downtown Baltimore to its yard in the Curtis Bay section of Anne Arundel County by mid-November, Coast Guard officials said yesterday.
The move to combine the Marine Safety Office and Group Baltimore under one commander is part of a national effort to streamline operations and cut costs that was announced Tuesday by the Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Robert E. Kramek.
The shift will eliminate six jobs, but the active-duty Coast Guard personnel involved will be transferred to other jobs by next summer, said Cmdr. Frank Shelley, head of the Marine Safety Office in Baltimore.
Most of the people moved to Curtis Bay will fit into Group Baltimore's office building at the yard, which is being renovated. An additional 80 Coast Guard officers work in stations along the Chesapeake Bay.
The Marine Safety Office, which operates out of the Custom House, inspects domestic and foreign tankers, container ships and other vessels; licenses merchant mariners; and helps clean up chemical spills.
It will maintain a small office at the Custom House to license merchant seamen and issue marine documents.
Group Baltimore, headquartered at Curtis Bay, is responsible for enforcing marine regulations and conducting search and rescue operations on the bay from the mouth of the Potomac River to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Combining the groups should end the inefficient overlapping of two Coast Guard units in the same area, said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Keene, who oversees Group Baltimore.
For example, when waterways freeze over, the Marine Safety Office decides which channels to clear and what kinds of vessels to allow through the ice. Vessels from Group Baltimore ++ break up the ice. Under the reorganization, one commander will direct all of those efforts.
In Baltimore, the agency will save $330,000 to $380,000 a year in rent by moving out of the Custom House, which is owned by the General Services Administration.