We pointed out in a earlier post that the Nairnshire today has a article detailing the discussion at River CC last Wednesday concerning the proposed ship to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.
This afternoon a press release has been issued by the Scottish Green Party concerning the proposed transfers:
"John Finnie MSP has launched a campaign to block risky plans to carry out ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Cromarty Firth.
John is appealing to the people of the Moray Firth, and beyond, to sign a petition against the proposal, which could put the Firth’s iconic bottlenose dolphins, Minke wales and porpoises at risk.
At present, oil is transferred onto and off of vessels securely berthed at Nigg, but the Cromarty Firth Port Authority has lodged an application for a license to carry out ship-to-ship oil transfers at five locations in the open sea outside the mouth of the Cromarty Firth.
Under pressure from local campaigners, the Cromarty Firth Port Authority has extended the deadline for public responses until 8 February.
The Scottish Greens have a strong track record in protecting coastal communities from ship-to-ship plans. A three-year campaign by Green MSPs to halt similar plans in the Firth of Forth ended in victory when Forth Ports PLC dropped their proposal in 2008.
Mr Finnie said:
“The proposal for ship-to-ship oil transfers puts the priceless environment of the Moray Firth – including our iconic bottlenose dolphins – at risk.
“The plan means that instead of loading and offloading oil in the safety of Nigg harbour, oil would be pumped between ships at the mercy of the waves out in the Firth. It’s little wonder that this risky procedure is seen as a real threat by campaigners like Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
“The Moray Firth is one of Scotland’s most important marine habitats. As well as dolphins, porpoises and whales, it is an important area for seabirds, wading birds, seals and otters. It’s an important fishery and a centre for the production of shellfish. It’s an excellent location for windsurfing, kayaking and other water sports. All that is in danger if we allow oil transfers to go ahead.
“Greens have beaten ship-to-ship plans once before, in the Firth of Forth. With your help we can do it again: please sign the petition at http://bit.ly/SaveOurDolphins.”
Isla O’Reilly, Green Highlands and Islands list candidate added:
“A spillage in this area could cause serious problems for the coastal communities and environments from Ross-shire to Moray, while the discharging of ballast water could introduce further pollution as well as non-native species.”