The need for an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) was highlighted again today (Wednesday) when the largest ferry in the CalMac network lost power in the Minch, said Isles MP Angus MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil is calling on the UK Government to once again look at the situation which has left the West Coast without an ETV based in Stornoway and is serviced by a vessel which also covers the Northern Isles.

He said: “It is lucky that the ETV, the only boat that could have assisted the MV Loch Seaforth in the worst case scenario, was also on the West Coast relatively nearby.

“However this shows that for now we need to have an ETV based in Stornoway in case of a similar incident in future.

“We do not know at this stage what went wrong with MV Loch Seaforth but the point is that the Tug is for unforeseen circumstances.

“The one thing we know is that the unforeseen will happen and we need the insurance policy of a West Coast tug. The UK Department of Transport are dodging their responsibilities here and crossing their fingers which is not good enough.”

Mr MacNeil has also contacted CalMac for an update on the status of MV Loch Seaforth following the incident.

He has made the case for an ETV time and time again and in 2016 presented a petition launched by local SNP councillors Rae Mackenzie and Gordon Murray to Downing Street.

The ETV in Stornoway was removed in 2011 as a cost cutting exercise by the UK Government.

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