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Convener welcomes three-month tug extension

OIC convener, Councillor Stephen Hagan, has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to keep two emergency towing vessels in service for at least another three months.

The OIC, together with the Shetland, Highland and Western Isles councils, has led the campaign for the  retention of the two powerful tugs.

“I am delighted that the Government has listened to the strong case put forward by the four councils,” Councillor Hagan said.

“The concerted work of Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, and other influential MPs, was also of crucial importance in securing this three-month extension and I pay tribute to their efforts. We will now work closely with Alistair and the other councils in pressing for the tugs to be retained on a permanent basis.

“Our coastline, and the seas around us, must be protected for our communities, for fishing, tourism and the fast emerging marine renewables industry, and for the wealth of wildlife they support.

“They can also be treacherous waters for shipping, particularly as we head towards winter. We need to have emergency towing vessels on standby should a vessel get into difficulties – the tugs are an asset we are determined to maintain.”