Friday, January 29, 2016

SNP position on ship-to-ship oil transfers at mouth of Cromarty Firth "bewildering" says John Finnie MSP

In a press release concerning proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth, John Finnie, MSP, provides links which contrast the recent statement of Councillor Maxine Smith, Leader of the SNP Group on the Highland Council to the stance of Richard Lochhead, MSP, back in 2007. 

John, who will be standing as a Green List candidate for the Holyrood elections states in relation to similar ship to ship transfers that were proposed in the Firth of Forth:

"In his first speech as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment in 2007 (24th May), Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, said that “many members of the public and members across the Parliament consider that even a scintilla of environmental risk is unacceptable.”

"Mr Lochhead continued: “I believe that the Parliament—and, indeed, Scotland—desires to be able to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers and proposals that could pose a threat to our precious marine and coastal environments in the Firth of Forth or elsewhere. That is what I intend to achieve.”"

Mr Finnie goes on: "Yet, as the consultation about the proposed plans by Cromarty Firth Port Authority to transfer oil between ships at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth draws to a close, the response from Richard Lochhead and the SNP Government has been bewildering. "

This issue of proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers is boiling away on local social media groups and this observer would imagine that that is being repeated in other parts of the Moray Firth. One would imagine too that the many thousands of photographers and other wildlife enthusiasts that visit the Cromarty beaches to see the Dolphins and other wildlife every year will also be showing an interest in the proposed ship-to-ship transfers. Many local residents will also be wishing to hear the views of local SNP MPs and MSPs on the matter.  Anyway John Finnie's views are emphatic, he states:

"“This operation is unsafe, unnecessary and undesirable. In my view, and the view of the affected communities, it simply must not go ahead.”

Links provided in John Finnie's release are as follows:

Richard Lochhead’s full speech can be found here:

Scottish Government response featured including comments attributed to Cllr Maxine Smith in this news article:


Anonymous said...

Methinks my old friend Mr Finnie is being a tad mischievious!
I'm presuming that a Government Minister (albeit this is primarily a UK issue as I understand it) at this stage in a consultation, would be wise not to "pre-judge" or "prejudice".
Methinks that Mr Finnie may be currently "Green with Envy" ................

Anonymous said...

A rather surprising u-turn by the SNP and like other political parties, exposes a hidden agenda. SNP MP's and Councillors are the most whipped so Cllr Smith's response is expected, what is surprising is Cllr MacDonald's support for the ban. Given her recent attempts to climb the greasy pole through the old HC ruling SNP and latterly her attempt to become a list MSP, its nice to see her put Nairn before political ambition for a change. have our other Councillors responded?

Anonymous said...

I am not aware of any occasion where Liz MacDonald has put any ambition before her home town. She fights for the town and for its citizens at every opportunity.
You sound like a very embittered anti-self determination individual airing a grievance?

Graisg said...

OK Citizens enough about Liz, let's talk about the ship-to-ship transfers please

cradlehall said...

So it's okay for the Moray Firth but not so okay for the Firth of Forth. Politics!

D.Ross said...

@ cradlehall 8:55PM......

It's called the people in the Central belt as usual! (so they dump it on the Highlands).

It does occur & has to take place somewhere, however I would only allow it on the following conditions:-

They have a full time operational rapid response unit with boats(s) that can contain/control/scoop up any spill.

Spill pond booms in place around the vessels during the transfers to contain any spillage.

Hefty fines to the ships captains when they do spill any.

Chances are the industry would baulk at such "expensive" conditions so the transfers would not take place.

On a side note why can't we charge these big ships berthing fees as they are parking out in the firth now (due to less economic need for them) & have been for a couple of years. The noise from the diesel engines at night is annoying !! & yes I can see them from my bedroom window & hear the deep thrum from them when they are manoeuvring against the tide at anchor.

Green but SNP said...

I'm a Green but a member of the SNP. I have friends who are the same way inclined and it is likely that throughout Scotland there are more Greens in the SNP than in the Scottish Green Party. Time for a bit more thought about this from the party, it is becoming a very big issue.

Anonymous said...

D Ross @10.00. I think it's called NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard)? Maybe NIBYism is something to do with pens?

D.Ross said...

To Anon @ 11:53PM

Yes you are right, just that the spell checker didn't show it & I didn't notice it & couldn't edit it after I posted it when I did notice my mistake.

Reality said...

I don't remember anyone in Nairn wanting to start a petition against Shell drilling for oil in the Artic, a potential environmental disaster on a huge scale compared to any spillage in the firth. What I do recall however is the individual/s who dared to paint a protest message on the railway bridge in Nairn causing howls of outrage from some local citizens

We all use oil period, and therefore should we all not take at least some responsibility for this? It's a little like the anti wind farm lobby who are quite happy to use electricity but don't want nuclear nor for any generation to spoil the landscape

We either change how we get our energy or we wake up to the fact that we're all part of the likes of ship to ship transfers that are being proposed. If not are we not just a bunch of hypercritical NMBY's?

Joe Telfer said...

The Moray firth is a critical habitat for Bottle nose dolphins, Cardigan bay in Wales is another. These areas need full protection from the likes of Ship to ship transfers. From a regional point of view, tourists come to this area in many cases just to see the dolphins close up. Nairn Needs all the help it can get to maintain a thriving tourist industry, having a great beach and marine and coastal wildlife is a critical part of it. Allowing ship to ship transfers benefits no one except the profit merchants. As for a petition to stop Shell in the Arctic, Greeenpeace has over 6.2 million signatures to stop drilling in the Arctic, anyone can sign here : Our Local councillors should be at the forefront of protecting our environment - Period.

Anonymous said...

People who object to the oil to oil transfers which are banned throughout Scandinavia need to write to before the 8th of February - is this a cost saving exercise for the oil industry but at what cost to our environment, marine life, tourism and jobs? There needs to be proper public consultation, it isn't just about spills - ballast water & other hazards we might not be aware of - any damage could be irreversible & we have 500 miles of coastline habitat to protect. Who benifits from these ship to ship oil transfers? Not locals, not tourism and certainly not marine wildlife yet they will pay for anything that goes wrong.

Anonymous said...

We've destroyed or damaged untold environs in our extraction of oil and related industries. We're always very happy to pay less at the pumps so hopefully the S2S transfer in the firth will add to this

Anonymous said...

And how do you think transfer from ship to shore is done. Same risk for spillage and environmental damage.
Risk is present in every activity. Mitigating the risk during operations is the key.