I would like to register my anger over the incredibly short-sighted decision to withdraw the provision of the coastguard emergency tug.
Our rulers have been all for opening up the seas around Shetland to exploitation, whether it be oil or gas, and are now also giving the clear message that our environmental worries are the least of their concerns.
The UK earns a nice amount of revenue from what comes out of the seabed around these islands so I think it is only fair that a fraction of that revenue is used to safeguard Shetland’s well-being. As we have seen in the Gulf of Mexico this year accidents can happen in any place, at any time and for any amount of reasons.
Individuals, companies and governments deny responsibility and argue that these environmental catastrophes do not happen on purpose, but it is always the local communities that feel the consequences and in some cases lose their livelihoods.
The argument is normally that “everything possible was done to prevent this”, but how will that point be made if the tug is indeed withdrawn and we have another <i>Braer</i>-type incident? Will the politicians and officials who made this decision then stand up and say “Sorry, I made a mistake, it’s all my fault”? I think we can all guess the answer to that one.
Thomas T Mathieson