UK's emergency towing vessels still in firing line? –

UK’s emergency towing vessels still in firing line? Published:  05 August, 2011

KIMO UK is seriously concerned that the Government is still planning on removing the Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV’s) from UK shores – a move that will lead to increased amounts of pollution in the UK’s waters.

The government is set to ignore advice from KIMO UK, coastal local authorities, a diverse range of maritime industries, its own consultants, the ETV working group and probably the MCA and withdraw at least three of the UK’s four Emergency Towing Vessels at the end of September leaving coastal users without emergency backup and removing the UK’s offshore pollution prevention and response capabilities.

Tom Piper of KIMO UK said: “KIMO UK is extremely worried that the UK’s ETVs will be removed from service in September, with only the vessel in Stornoway possibly retained for a few months while alternative funding is identified;at the very least this short-term arrangement must cover all four tugs.

“Whilst we support a move to a more cost effective funding package for the tugs, we feel it is the Government’s responsibility to put this in place and commit to providing long-term emergency cover. We totally disagree with the government’s view that “ship salvage should be a commercial matter between a ship’s operator and the salvor” as the reality is many innocent local authorities would be affected in the case of an accident.

Norman MacDonald, KIMO UK chairman, said: “At the beginning of the spending review Prime Minister David Cameron promised there would be no frontline cuts. Surely the removal of the UK’s emergency tugs is going against this promise.”