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Emergency tug success for Highland Council

By SPP Reporter

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Emergency tug reinstated
Emergency tug reinstated

The leaders of The Highland and Islands local councils have welcomed news that an emergency towing vessel will be permanently based in the Highlands and Islands.

The news was confirmed today in a ministerial statement by Michael Moore, the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of The Highland Council, said the outcome was a real success for the Council and its neighbouring authorities, who had campaigned so vigorously to retain the presence of a tug covering the Northern Isles and the Minches.

He said: “This is better news for the Highlands and Islands and a tribute to everyone involved in the relentless campaign to retain this lifeline cover for our coastline.

“These vessels should never have been under threat and had it not been for the pressure that the Councils and others have consistently put on the UK Government, we would not even have achieved this outcome.

“We will continue to press for the same level of protection as previously provided by two ETVs and the details of the contract will of course be crucial to this.”

Councillor Drew Hendry also paid tribute to the work of The Highland Council’s previous Leader, Michael Foxley, who headed up the campaign to retain the ETVs for the Northern Isles and the Minches. He said “Michael worked tirelessly on this issue and was instrumental in influencing the UK Government’s decision to re-instate the ETV.”

Councillor Jim Foubister, Vice-Convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: ““I am delighted that as a result of our joint efforts, there will be an ETV permanently stationed in the Highlands and Islands.

“I am also pleased that the Minister has said that the vessel needs to be stationed in a location where it can provide the best possible cover for the entire area.

“We need to have powerful vessels of this kind ready at hand to deal with an emergency in our waters – so it is encouraging that there are ongoing discussions with the oil and gas industry about the provision of a back-up vessel in addition to the Government-funded ETV.”

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