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Hebrides News


No dedicated emergency rescue vessel will be provided for the Western Isles despite renewed calls following a “near miss” incident on Thursday.

The small bulkcarrier, MV Fame,avoided hitting rocks by just 100 metres after brekaing down in a severe gale and heavy seas

The salmon feed supply was just two ship lengths from reefs as she drifted between small islets at Gasker.

Any change of the wind direction or a different state of the tidal stream could have resulted in her being holed.

The Fame was just two ship lengths from reefs as she drifted between small islets at Gasker.

Her owners chartered the coastguard tug MV Ievoli Black to tow her to Stornoway for repairs.

Politicians called for a second tug, warning an oil spill - even from ruptured fuel tanks -  could have resulted in pollution.

But the MCA says a consultation and independent review shows there is no need for an additional tug.

A MCA spokesman said: “The government’s position remains that the cost of shipping should be borne by the shipping industry rather that the taxpayer, though it has been recognised that the waters around north and north-west Scotland are a special case, given their significant environmental sensitivity and their contribution to both the Scottish and UK economy.

“The case for providing two ETVs (emergency towing vessel) rather than one was considered during discussion.

“The operational experience of the past six years has demonstrated that a single ETV has been sufficient to meet the needs for emergency towage in the region.”

Recent incidents include a disabled 229-metre-long bulk carrier being being pushed by wind and tide towards the north west Lewis in March.

Stormy weather resulted in the Transocean Winner oil rig grounding on Lewis in August last year.

Since the axing of the Stornoway vessel in 2012, the sole Scottish emergency tug has been based in the Northern Isles and very rarely used for incidents off the Western Isles.

A study in 2016 assessed the risks to shipping off north and north-western Scotland.

The UK government then chartered the 2283 tonne MV Ievoli Black to be based in Orkney until the end of 2021.

She is seen seen in the Minch more often than her predecessor, MV Herakles, as the contract requires her to “regularly patrol her designated operations area.”

The Ievoli Black was in the Minch during Storm Caroline but returned to berth in Kirkwall.   




One emergency tug “sufficient” for north Scotland says MCA

17 December 2017