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.’