Loss Of ETV Cover Brings Imminent Threat To Coastal Communities

LOSS OF ETV COVER BRINGS IMMINENT THREAT TO COASTAL COMMUNITIES

While the United Kingdom government may have rowed back from the swingeing cuts it had planned for coastguard services it is showing no inclination to review its decision to withdraw Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) from around British coasts.

ETVs were put in place at critical points around the coasts following a series of incidents in which vessels got into difficulties or foundered, often with serious pollution consequences. Three ETVs have been on station around coastlines (a fourth is also available) to ensure those vessels such as oil tankers or others carrying hazardous cargoes can be swiftly supported should they encounter difficulties. Most recently the ETV stationed in the Minch (off Western Scotland) went to the assistance of a stranded nuclear submarine.

From the end of September 2011 this environmental security for coastal communities will be withdrawn and it is clear from our correspondence with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that no specific risk assessment was undertaken prior to Ministers approving these cuts.

The UK government was hopeful when it announced the changes that interested parties would devise a strategy to duplicate this public sector safety provision from private sources. An ETV Working Group has been established (under the auspices of the MCA) and met recently: see links below for terms of reference, minutes etc.

However, this has made limited progress to date and it seems unlikely that resources to replace the current ETV provision are unlikely to be found.

The consequences of a massive oil or chemical tanker foundering because of a lack of emergency towing support in the SW approaches, the Irish sea or off Scottish coasts will cause devastation of the marine environment we are all too
familiar with.

The UK conservative government has forgotten the lessons that were learned after the `Braer’ and `Sea Empress’ disasters. Coastal communities now face this threat again.

ETV Working Group link:

https://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/emergencyresponse/mcga-dops_cp_environment\
al-counter-pollution_and_response/mcga-infrastructureandresources/mcga-dops_cp_r\
eview_of_etvp/dops-cp-etvwg/dops-cp-etvwg-11.05.2011

Related articles on Celtic News here:
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3665
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3576
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3550
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3523
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3507
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3512
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3496
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3606
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3622

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

13/08/11

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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