View Full Version : Tug cover stressed

22-Mar-12, 11:35
Tanker grounding once again highlights need for cover

Highland Councillor Michael Foxley has expressed his relief that Monday’s grounding of the tanker, MV Flinterspirit, off North Uist did not result in a serious environmental incident in which lives were lost.
And he has welcomed comments by the Depute Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, that the incident highlights the importance of emergency towing vehicle cover in the remote coastline of the Highlands and Islands.
The MV Flinterspirit went aground in a very rocky area in strong wind conditions. By pure good fortune she grounded in an area naturally sheltered by a rocky outcrop which prevented her from becoming damaged further by wind and wave action. Low tide at Stornoway was approximately 23:30 hours and the vessel was again fortunate the tide did not recede further after the grounding, and she was able to refloat on the rising tide.
Councillor Foxley said: “Both The Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have repeatedly argued that there are no alternatives to having a permanently stationed ETV in the Minches. The incident on Monday night has proved this and I very much welcome David Mundell’s swift acknowledgement of this fact. If the vessel had run aground at a falling tide or the weather had been worse, we could have been facing an environmental disaster right now with the costs of clean up running into many millions of pounds. A replacement for the ETV needs to be identified as a matter of urgency as we are unlikely to be as lucky the next time.”
The Dutch dry cargo ship ran aground on rocks in the Western Isles at approximately 22:45 after sailing too close to the east side of North Uist. She was heading south at the time, on passage to Belfast from Helsingborg, Sweden with a cargo of wood and steel.
The vessel had approximately 235 tonnes of oils on board, 200 tonnes of which is fuel oil. This is a heavier and less refined oil compared to the gas oil and would cause a much greater environmental problem had it leaked.
Councillor Foxley added: “We have been incredibly lucky that this incident did not result in a serious environmental incident and that lives were not lost.”
An official maritime accident investigation is now expected to be launched.”