Calls for maritime safety to be devolved as blunder leaves Scotland with no cover


The SNP has called for maritime safety to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament after a blunder over a contract left Scotland’s coasts with no emergency tugs cover.

The calls follow news that the coastguard tugs service, scheduled to be scrapped by the UK coalition, has been given a three month stay of execution because the company that runs them has not been contacted.

The announcement of the reprieve came from the UK government last night; however details have yet to be forthcoming, leaving Scotland without any emergency cover at the moment.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP, said:

“It is clear that the attempted axing of this vital service is nothing but a cost-cutting exercise by the coalition government.  Just this week in parliament I was astonished to learn that UK Ministers had not undertaken any risk assessment, and this must now be done before any withdrawal.

“They appear to have granted a reprieve for three months but they have still to actually provide the details meaning that Scotland’s waters are currently without any emergency cover.

“It is a frankly shocking position for the UK government to get themselves into.  This, combined with the closure of the Forth and Clyde coastguard stations and the downgrading of the Aberdeen station, raises serious questions about maritime safety in Scotland.

“It is clear that the maritime safety must come under Scottish control as a matter of urgency. If this was to happen we could ensure that our safety strategy was based on saving lives, not saving money.”