Labour candidiate Alastair Morrison has written to the Scottish Secretary urging the government to reinstate a tug boat in the Minch in order to safeguard our mariners and the marine environment, as well as fishing, aquaculture and tourism jobs which depend on it.
Alasdair Morrison said "The cargo ship which has run aground off Ardnamurchan serves as a warning of the dangers that threaten our fragile marine environment.
"Whilst we are pleased that at this point there has been no reported pollution, this would appear to be very fortunate. There was a significant delay after the ship grounding before the only available tug arrived in the area due to the distance it had to travel. We once had a tug, based in Stornoway, which allowed a more immediate response.
"That is the service which must be reinstated. Does there have to be a serious incident before the government listen to the people and accept we need a dedicated tug in the Minch waters?"
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is also pursuing the case for an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) to be based in the West of Scotland, after the large cargo ship ran aground near Ardnamurchan Point. The Kingdom of Fife tug arrived on the scene after travelling north from the Clyde whilst the Orkney based ETV, the Heracles, was also deployed but took 24 hours to arrive on the scene.
Comhairle Leader, Councillor Angus Campbell, said, “This is another occasion when, thankfully, there were no injuries but which could have been a vastly different story. The removal of the ETV from Western waters has increased the risk to mariners and to the environment. We call on the UK Government to reassess and find a long term solution to this crucial issue.”