Oil transfer proposals for Moray Firth to be ‘Refined’

Ship-to-ship oil transfer protests collected 20,000 signatures.
Ship-to-ship oil transfer protests collected 20,000 signatures.

CONTROVERSIAL PLANS TO establish ship-to-ship oil transfers on the Moray Firth that sparked furious protests all along the coastline are to be revisited.

The Cromarty Firth Port Authority have faced fierce protests from around the Highlands and Moray over their proposals, that would see tankers transfer their cargo at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth.

Protest groups in Moray and the Highlands said this would pose a ‘massive and unacceptable danger’ to residents whales and dolphins all along the Moray Firth – as well as a direct threat to beaches from Findhorn to Lossiemouth.

Now after months of consideration over the issue by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) talks have taken place that it is hoped will find a compromise solution. The MCA said that they have now completed an initial assessment over the proposal – but will not reach a final decision for several weeks.

They said that they met with the Port Authority and agreed that their application should be ‘refined’ in an attempt to ease public concerns over the issue, with a spokesman saying: “The MCA has completed its initial assessment of the CFPA oil transfer licence application and met with the CFPA to discuss a programme of future work designed to refine the application.

“This will address points raised during the public consultation which ended in February. This work will take several weeks and complete and will be followed by further scrutiny by the MCA.”

The spokesman added that there would also be further discussion with stakeholders including the Scottish Government before a final decision is taken.

Bob Buskie, the chief executive of the CFPA, said that the meeting with MCA was a “useful and positive” one, adding: “We listened carefully to all of the expert feedback during the consultation period and beyond.”