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
Her owners chartered the coastguard tug MV Ievoli Black to tow her to Stornoway for
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
“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
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
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
One emergency tug “sufficient” for north Scotland says MCA