West­ern Isles

The Oban Times - - Districts -

COMHAIRLE nan Eilean Siar has wel­comed the UK Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ex­tend the con­tract for one emer­gency tow­ing ves­sel (ETV) based in the North­ern Isles.

The coun­cil is, how­ever, push­ing with other neigh­bour­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties for a sec­ond ETV to be based in the west of Scot­land.

Comhairle leader An­gus Campbell said: ‘The ex­ten­sion of the north-based ETV con­tract clearly demon­strates that the gov­ern­ment also re­alises the dan­gers and, there­fore, it is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial that we also have an ad­di­tional ETV based on the west coast so we have ad­e­quate safety mea­sures in place to re­spond swiftly to in­ci­dents, to pro­tect lives and min­imise the risk of en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

‘There have been sev­eral oc­ca­sions over the years, when the north-based tug has not been used for in­ci­dents off the west coast, which con­tra­dicts what had pre­vi­ously been agreed on the ser­vice and poses the ques­tion of whether it is to be used for in­ci­dents off the west coast.’

He added: ‘ We re­main very con­cerned, as do col­leagues in neigh­bour­ing coun­cils, about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion which in­creases the risks for mariners and the en­vi­ron­ment.’

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