Chemical Tanker Incident Highlights ETV Cut Concerns



Just days after the Celtic League warned the United Kingdom government about the dangers of making any cuts to maritime salvage and recovery assets (ETVs) there has been a dramatic reminder of the risks posed.

On the 2nd of October the League wrote to the UK Secretary of State for Transport stressing that an ongoing review of Departmental budgets should steer well clear of cuts to Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) provision around British
coasts (See link):

We highlighted the numerous incidents in which tanker catastrophes had threatened coastal communities and caused widespread environmental damage.

On Friday 8th October the chemical tanker Uranus (Maltese flagged) was involved in a collision with another freighter about 60 miles off Finisterre. A swift salvage operation by French maritime agencies has ended successfully with the vessel towed into Brest.

Fortunately ETV capacity off France and the South of England has been strengthened, following incidents such as the `Erika’ and `Prestige’ tankers disasters in the SW approaches

Other areas however are not so well secured and for the NW of the British Isles only one ETV is on station. The limitations of such cover was illustrated some years ago when it took 26 hours for emergency towing assistance to reach a damaged Canadian submarine off the west of Ireland.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
socio-economic issues.

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