Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil presented a petition to No.10 Downing Street this afternoon (Tuesday) calling on the UK Government to urgently reinstate an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) on the west coast of Scotland.
The petition, launched by Western Isles SNP councillors Rae Mackenzie and Gordon Murray last month, attracted almost 1,500 signatures in just a few days.
Mr MacNeil was accompanied by Highland SNP MPs Ian Blackford; Drew Hendry; Brendan O’Hara and Paul Monaghan who have all been involved in the campaign to return an ETV to the west coast.
The ETV in Stornoway was removed in 2011 as a cost cutting exercise by the UK Government. Mr MacNeil, together with his SNP colleagues at Westminster and local agencies, have argued that the west coast of Scotland has been left vulnerable in the event of an emergency at sea.
Mr MacNeil said: “I was very pleased to present this petition to No.10 which is calling for the reinstatement of an ETV to Stornoway. Removal of the ETV has left the west coast vulnerable and the presence of a tug provides an insurance policy for an unusual but very possible event.
“I am hugely disappointed to hear that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have concluded that a second tug vessel is not warranted and I will continue to press the UK Government to re-think this matter.
“It was the UK Government’s decision to cut the ETV on the west coast and I hope that they will now listen to representations and take action to remedy this unfortunate situation.
“Reinstating an ETV on the west coast, at a relatively small cost to the UK Government, will help to protect lives at sea and also safeguard our precious environment.”