Oil industry close to agreeing emergency tug deal

The UK government is close to signing a deal with the oil industry which could soon see a second emergency tug protecting Shetland’s waters once again.

High-level talks aimed at getting industry more involved in tug provision are close to reaching a conclusion, according to isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

The negotiations have been ongoing since the number of rescue tugs covering Scotland were cut from two to one as part of the Coalition government’s programme of public spending cuts.

The Department for Transport agreed to provide funding for one full-time tug stationed at Orkney. But that vessel is also used to cover emergencies in Shetland and the Western Isles.  

Mr Carmichael said a positive outcome was not far away.

“I was delighted when the Department for Transport agreed to station a tug full time in Orkney, covering Shetland and – if necessary – the Western Isles.

“We’re now at the point where back-up for that tug should be available from the oil industry.

“I would hope the conclusion of that will come fairly soon, in weeks rather than months.”

Originally four tugs were used to patrol the UK coastline, with two of them stationed north of the border.

The vessels were introduced as one of the recommendations from Lord Donaldson’s report into the <i>Braer</i> disaster, which reached its 20th anniversary on Saturday. In Friday’s paper The Shetland Times looked back on the dramatic event.


Add Your Comment
  • eleanor black

    • January 8th, 2013 4:18

    Excellent! I say to all on the Isle of Bute “For all things good, look first to Shetland who are world leaders.”

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 8th, 2013 20:41

    Mike Penning said that the Oil Industry should pay for these vessels. Why? it is not only they who benefit from their presence. The most High profile rescue to date was that of a Nuclear Submarine! A vessel worth many, many times more than any Oil Tanker. Mr Penning then threw the toys out of the pram because the MOD were presented with Lloyds open Form. Namely, No cure, no cost. he claimed that the salvage should have been “free”. What part of Cloud Cuckoo land does this man inhabit?
    Does the Oil industry not already pay enough through direct taxation and Mr Osbournes £2Bn “windfall tax” last year? That alone could have funded the ETVs for 500 years!
    Of course, we in the North probably forget that ETVs are not much use to the people of Hemel Hempstead!


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