Call to reinstate emergency tugs

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP will again be calling on the Department for Transport to reinstate the emergency tug provision following the grounding of the large cargo ship, Lysblink Seaways, at Ardnamurchan Point.

Currently there is only one emergency tug vessel covering the whole of Scotland’s coast.

Angus MacNeil MP, who has previously led calls for a rethink, said: “Once again we have seen how vulnerable we are without an emergency tug vessel.

“Is the West Coast of Scotland, the most westerly point of Britain, simply too far away from Westminster to be a priority?

“The lack of an emergency tug vessel meant there was no quick response. We had a lucky escape this time because of the cargo on board the ship, but next time it could be much more serious.

“Despite the sophisticated navigation equipment on board ships, accidents will happen and an emergency towing vessel is an insurance policy. We need to protect the environment and our fishing industry.

“When parliament returns, I will be raising the issue with the Department for Transport, calling for the reinstatement of the emergency tug vessel.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is also pursuing the case for an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) to be based in the West of Scotland.

Comhairle Leader, Cllr Angus Campbell, said: “This is another occasion when, thankfully, there were no injuries but which could have been a vastly different story. The removal of the ETV from Western waters has increased the risk to mariners and to the environment.

“We call on the UK Government to reassess and find a long term solution to this crucial issue.”