Finne call for UK Government to increase number of Emergency Tugs

Highlands and Islands MSP, John Finnie, is calling on the UK Government to increase the number of emergency tug boats protecting Scotland’s shores.

Westminster cuts have seen the number of tugs covering the coast line drop from 2 to 1, which is stationed in Orkney and will only receive government funding until 2015.

Mr Finnie has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament on the issue as this week marks the 20th anniversary of the Braer oil disaster off the coast of Shetland, thought to be Scotland’s worst off shore environmental disaster.

Speaking on the issue Mr Finnie said: “Twenty years on, the lessons learned from the Braer disaster seem to be forgotten. We are a maritime nation and as such it is government’s responsibility to ensure that our shores are adequately protected.

“I don’t believe that one tug boat based in Orkney does that, nor did the inquiry held after the Braer disaster which recommended two vessels.

“Whilst I understand that the government is on the brink of signing a deal with the oil industry to provide a second tug boat to be based in Orkney, this provision will only last until 2015 when government funding for the first vessel runs out.

“I’m writing to the Scottish Secretary and the UK Secretary of State for Transport to ask that state funding continues indefinitely in order that our shores can continue to be protected.

“Co-operation with the oil industry needs to be welcomed as additional resources to maintain the safety on our shores not as a way of providing basic services deemed necessary in the aftermath of environmental disaster.”