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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is a UKmarker executive agency working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and International maritime law and safety policy.

This involves coordinating search and rescue (SAR) at sea through Her Majesty's Coastguard (HMCG), ensuring that ships meet international and UKmarker safety standards, monitoring and preventing coastal water pollution and testing and licensing ships' officers and crew to STCW requirements.
The organisation is led by Peter Cardy, its Chief Executive.

The MCA has three distinct "outward facing" elements - provision of search and rescue and prevention activity through Her Majesty's Coastguard, port and flag state control of shipping through a network of Marine Offices and the development of international standards and policy for shipping through the International Maritime Organisation.

The MCA has now established an Automatic Identification System (AIS) network around the UK coast, for real-time tracking and monitoring of shipping movements from the shore.

Its motto is "Safer Lives, Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas".

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