Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil, has called on the Scotland Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to layout a full and comprehensive plan for the Emergency Towing Vessel cover in Scottish waters.

Mr MacNeil said,

‘I am happy to hear that Shetland’s tugs will be operating until the end of the month but, that is still no definite answer to this on-going issue of maritime safety in Scottish waters.

‘The Scotland Office has still left the waters of the Western and Northern Isles in limbo. In nine days we will be back in the same position we were in December and a year before that.

‘I note that the Treasury can find 70 million pounds to give, what seems, as a pre-election sweetener to Boris, while failing to find 2-3 million pounds to maintain cover for maritime safety in Scotland.

‘Unfortunately, because the coastguards and maritime safety are reserved the UK Government is the only entity that can do anything about this issue.

‘Therefore, I have, once again, called on the Scotland Office and the Treasury to come forward with a long-term, comprehensive plan for tug cover in Scottish waters. Further to that, I ask if any risk assessment has been conducted by the Scotland Office on the removal of the tugs.

‘David Mundell’s recent concession that ETV cover is needed is meaningless as he has only provided us with more of the same rhetoric of “I have made the UK Government aware of the situation”.

‘The UK Government already knows this situation because myself, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland Council and, many others have been pushing the UK Government to sort this out for years.

‘I am getting tired of asking Messers Moore, Mundell and, Alexander if they can take a moment to look out for the needs of Scotland and I’m sure the public are too.


Text of Angus MacNeil MP’s question to Scotland Office on ETVs

Mr Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what long-term plans are in place for emergency towing vessel cover in Scottish waters after 24 March 2012.