Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil has criticised the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for carrying out a ‘box ticking exercise’ on future arrangements for Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) in Scottish waters.

After years of campaigning for the reinstatement of an ETV on the West coast – for issues of safety and environmental protection –  Mr MacNeil says a meeting in Edinburgh is simply not good enough as part of a study commissioned by the MCA to look at future arrangements.

He said: “The West Coast of Scotland needs an Emergency Towing Vessel and we have been telling the MCA that for many years now. We need action on this not more words.

“If they think that Edinburgh is a good enough location for a coastal consultation for the whole of Scotland, they are wasting their money.

“I support calls from my colleague Alasdair Allan MSP calling for them to visit the Isles and discuss this extremely important issue with the communities that this directly affects.”

The MCA are carrying out a Shipping Risk and Emergency Towage Provision Study which will review the risks presented by and to shipping within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This was previously carried out in 2008.

In 2016, a petition was launched by Stornoway SNP Councillors Gordon Murray and Rae Mackenzie calling for the reinstatement of the West Coast vessel. This was submitted to Downing Street in 2016 by Highlands and Islands MPs.