Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, commenting after the third meeting of the Emergency Towing Vessels Interested Parties in Edinburgh on 25 May.
“This was by some measure the most positive and productive meeting that we have had throughout this process. The meeting received an independent and professional risk assessment which made it clear that a need for an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) is greater than it has ever been. That has appeared to have changed significantly the attitude of the coastguard agency towards the continued provision of an ETV. The risk assessment also included proposals for the more efficient and effective use of the tug including the undertaking of regular patrols across the whole of the area to be served.
“It is now for the agency to put the different proposals before the minister and I am hopeful that this will be done before the end of July. It is by no means yet certain that the ETV will be saved but I feel that an already strong case has been strengthened and for once the wind is at our backs rather than in our face.
“I hope also that lessons might be learned for the future from the way the case has been pursued. This is the sort of risk assessment that should have been done right at the start and long before the contract is due to run out. I shall be seeking an early discussion with the minister and I hope that his thinking will now reflect much more closely the approach we seem to be getting from officials in the coastguard agency and his department.”