Rankin joins fight against Mo­ray Firth oil trans­fers

The Herald - - NEWS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.