Fishing fuel tanks falling apart

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AS INCREASED fishing efforts though out the Western Isles progress, the rising costs of fuel tank maintenance for the islands’ fishery piers is becoming a cause of concern with the Comhairle feeling the pinch of prudent financing.

In a report before members of the authority’s Transportation Committee this week, it was detailed that the wholesale price of marine diesel has increased by 16p per litre over the last calendar year – equating to a 30 per cent increase in fuel costs for the average user.

Yet, the poor condition and urgent repair of many of the piers’ fuel tanks has become a worry and finances to improve the situation hard to come by.

Urgent maintenance to tanks at Miavaig, Uig, was required this year to prevent catastrophic structural failure.

“This was in addition to the routine planned maintenance and general refurbishment of the system and has significantly eroded the financial position of the trading operation,” the report stated.

Following this discovery, an inspection was then made of the tank at Stockinish, where major corrosion of both bund and internal tank was found to such an extent that the tank had to be taken out of service immediately.

The report detailed that the tank now ‘either needs to be rebuilt of replaced, whichever is seen to be the most cost effective’.

And highlighting fears, it added: “This all contributes to the growing concern that the majority of the other tanks now require either major refurbishment or replacement, having come to the end of their service life.”

In brighter news though, the report detailed that volume sales for the calendar year (to the end of October), are just over 105,000 litres up from the same 2010 period. It’s believed this is due to the facility at Stornoway Harbour being fully commissioned and increased fishing effort at several locations though out the isles.