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Hebrides News

Drifting cargo ship sparks fresh calls for coastguard tug  


MP Angus MacNeil is calling for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to make sure there is an official record of all ‘near miss’ maritime incidents in the Minch.


A large bulk carrier en route between Russia and Italy was adrift for three hours close to Lewis a week ago.


Her direction of drift could have seen her on rocks on the north west coast within hours.


Mr MacNeil said: “How many other ‘near misses’ do we not know about?


“I have and will continue to call on the UK Government to reverse their short-sighted decision to remove an emergency towing vessel (ETV) from our waters.


“Incidents such as these strengthens my argument that an ETV is needed.”


Mr MacNeil said an ETV is an “insurance policy” which would protect lives and the environment in the event of an incident.


He accused the UK Government of turning a “a blind eye” to the potential of a maritime accident.


The MP said cruise ships which visit the Western Isles generate money for the economy which ultimately goes to Westminster in taxes but “Westminster in turn, will not spend money on an ETV.”


“I will write to MCA to call on them to record, and make public, all of these type of incidents at sea. I want to know how many similar incidents have happened in our waters over the past few years.”

Drifting cargo ship sparks fresh calls for coastguard tug  

“Blind eye” to shipping “near miss” accidents off Western Isles

12 March 2017