Rankin joins fight against Moray Firth oil transfers
CAMPAIGNERS protesting against plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth have been backed by best-selling author Ian Rankin.
The Rebus creator joined activists at a rally outside the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
Campaigners fear an oil spill in the area, at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth, would be catastrophic for the environmentallysensitive waters – home to species such as bottlenose dolphins, minke whales and porpoises.
The applicant, the Port of Cromarty Firth, insists safeguards are in place and that it takes its environmental responsibilities “extremely seriously”.
Speaking at the rally, Mr Rankin said: “I’ve been holidaying in Cromarty for several years and I’ve got a house up there, so I know that area of Scotland very well.
“It’s such a rich, biodiverse area and, of course, tourism is the lifeblood.
“If one thing went wrong, it would be hellish.”
Campaigners from groups including Marine Connection and Cromarty Rising attended the rally which took place outside Holyrood.
The Port of Cromarty Firth said it has modified its application in response to concerns raised over the past year.
“We fully appreciate that the environment in which we operate is extremely special and we are legally bound to protect it,” a spokesman said.
He said they believe they can satisfy the authorities that the operations can be undertaken safely.
“Oil transfers have taken place safely in the Cromarty Firth for over 30 years,” the spokesman said.
“More than 175 million barrels of oil have been transferred safely in the Firth in that time with no spills.
“We have the trained staff, necessary facilities and contingency plans in place to ensure these activities continue to be undertaken safely.
“The port has modified its application in response to the concerns raised and we are confident that when the refined application is submitted it will reassure people that the necessary measures are in place to protect this special marine environment.”
IAN RANKIN: Best-selling author joined campaigners who fear a spill during an oil transfer could be catastrophic for the environment. Pictures: Gordon Terris
PROTEST: The rally took place at Holyrood.