The interim three-month contract to operate emergency tugs in Shetland and the Western Isles was today awarded by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to JP Knight, whose vessels Anglian Sovereign and Anglian Monarch will begin work this weekend.
The announcement was made by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, whose department will now turn its attention to finding a means of ensuring longer-term provision of ETVs when the contract expires at the end of December.
Mr Moore said: “This welcome news is the result of a great deal of hard work by UK ministers, the Scotland Office and MCA and the new interim contract has been put in place as quickly as possible. This will provide both continuity and cover for the next three months.
“Ministers are working hard to try and broker a deal for 2012 and beyond and I will chair a meeting of the ETV group in Edinburgh on Monday to take this work forward urgently.
“I am confident we can work towards a long term solution for the ETVs and we will be working with a wide range of stakeholders, including the oil and gas industry, towards that goal.”
Earlier this week MCA chief executive Sir Alan Massey said he was not hopeful that such a solution could be found, but his comments earned him a rebuke from isles MP and Lib Dem chief whip Alistair Carmichael.