Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP is calling on the UK Government to reinstate the Emergency Towing Vessel which was based in Stornoway. This call comes following a severe gale which saw a 17,000 tonne oil rig, run aground in Carloway on the Isle of Lewis.
According to media reports, no personnel were on board the rig, thankfully and luckily, there was no risk to life.
The ETV in Stornoway was removed in 2011 as a cost cutting exercise by the UK Government. This was opposed strongly by Mr MacNeil and local agencies who argued this left the West Coast vulnerable in the event of an emergency at sea which could endanger life and lead to environmental damage.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“Once again our waters were under threat and we are fortunate that the grounding of this oil rig posed no risk to life. However, this could have been a very different outcome and the UK Government must return the ETV to Stornoway. I have long argued that a tug is an insurance policy from an unusual but statistically possible event.
“I am also calling on the UK Government to carry out an immediate investigation as to why this oil rig was being towed in severe winds West of the Hebrides and also asking about the response time and distance the Orkney tug had to travel to the scene.”