STORNOWAY’S threatened Coastguard tug, the Anglian Prince, has been removed from service and replaced by the younger Anglian Earl.
The tug is 30 years old and was selected for lay-up as she is eldest of fleet and most expensive to operate in difficult economic circumstances.
A spokesperson for the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said today: “JP Knight (our ETV contractor) have decided to lay-up one of their vessels, which they are allowed to do within the terms of their contract with us, providing they give us alternative cover The decision to lay up a vessel is commercially-based and reflects the lack of work in the market over the last 12 months. The Anglian Prince is the contractor’s choice for lay-up as she is the oldest vessel in their tug fleet, and the most expensive to operate.”
He added: “The implication for the MCA is that we will have the Anglian Earl on a permanent basis as our ETV in Stornoway covering the Minches. The ‘Earl’ is fully acceptable to meet our operational needs and the requirements of our contract. In fact, she has operated as our standby/replacement vessel on a number of occasions and has always met her operational brief.
With a ship in lay-up, the contractor will need to approach the commercial market for cover if any of our four ETVs are not available for any reason. The contract allows them 36 hours to secure that cover. Anglian Earl has always been in company livery. The important point is that although the ETVs may look different, but will be doing the same things as always until the contact ends in September.”
The fleet of tugs are due to be axed as part of UK Government cuts at the end of the contract but campaigns are underway to retain the tug in the Minch and also the Coastugard watch room in Stornoway.