SNP slam ‘shambolic’ tugs situation as Scotland left without emergency cover

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has described as “shambolic” the situation over Scotland’s emergency tugs after it emerged that the UK Government has still not restored the service.

Last week Scotland Office Minister Michael Moore announced £3m of funding for a new vessel in Stornoway, however Scottish waters still remain without any emergency cover.

SNP Transport Spokesperson Angus MacNeil has described the announcement as a meaningless press release and claimed the gap in cover could cost lives.

Commenting Mr MacNeil MP said:

“This has been nothing short of shambolic from the UK Government.  The last minute reprieve last week offered some reassurance however it appears nothing more than a meaningless press release from the Tory-led Government.”

“Leaving Scottish waters without any emergency cover has needlessly added to the dangers faced by those who use Scotland’s seas for business, travel and recreation.”

“The initial decision to cut the two tugs was shocking in itself.  The Tory and Lib Dem Government is simply trying to save money, when it should be about saving lives.”

The SNP MP demanded that the UK government clarify whether there is currently any service that could help a vessel in distress on the west coast today and if not when will it be there?

Mr McNeil added:

“Tugs are an invaluable commodity that have proven their ability in improving maritime safety.”

“This situation is getting more and more farcical with each day that goes by.  The UK Government needs to get serious about Maritime Safety now and ensure that Scotland is once again with emergency cover.”

“The UK Government have dodged the question time and time again; when will Scottish waters have the emergency tug cover that we need?”

The UK Government is planning to remove funding for the tugs entirely but has failed to find a commercial operator to take on the service.