Grounded boat sparks fresh call for west coast tug cover

The only emergency towing vessel covering the north of Scotland was still en route to a grounded cargo vessel off the west coast this afternoon (Wednesday).

The UK-registered ‘Lysblink Seaways’ ran aground off Ardnamurchan at 2am on Wednesday, but the ETV stationed in Orkney had still not reached the vessel by mid-afternoon.

The cargo ship, reported to be carrying paper waste, set off from Greenock on Saturday bound for the Norwegian port of Skogn via Belfast.

The grounding prompted one long-standing marine safety campaigner, Dr Michael Foxley, to call for the reinstatement of the west-coast ETV. He said: “Do we have to wait for a catastrophe? The ETV needs to be restored to the Minches to safeguard the marine environment and the fishing, aquaculture and tourism jobs dependent upon it.

“This coalition government has failed to protect the area. The funding and responsibilities need to be transferred to the Scottish Government and a Scottish Coastguard Agency established.”