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The MV Bertora


The MV Bertora, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A very orange crude oil shuttle tanker.

And it would seem to many people in the east of Scotland, its a floating time bomb. And ship to ship oil transfer is a major threat to life as we know it in the Firth's of Forth and Tayside.

As far as I’m aware, ship to ship oil transfer is a day to day occurrence at lots of places all around the world; indeed most large ports do this on a regular basis.

Where I live on the Cromarty Firth this is a weekly occurrence. Tankers full of oil arrive, empty ones are waiting, they hook up, oil is transferred, they both head of for new jobs.

And its not just the Cromarty Firth – Scapa Flow in Orkney is a global centre for this activity, and makes lot of money from it for the island group, and Sullom Voe in Shetland is also a place where tankers load oil on a daily basis. West coast ports are pretty active in this field as well.

And all these locations have been doing this for 30 years or more.

So I’m confused as to what people are fretting about here.

Is this type of activity dangerous? Not that I’m aware of – it seems to be pretty well regulated, and there has not been a serious oil spill in Scottish waters associated with port movements since the Esso Bernicia in Shetland in 1978. Lots of lessons were learned , and have been applied in European waters since then. Any oil spill would be pretty serious, but what confuses me is the why people think that the Firth of Forth is different from other parts of Scotland where this activity takes place on a weekly basis.

It cannot be that the Firth of Forth is more important in environmental designations, wildlife interests and landscape features than places to the North and West.

No – of course not – the FoF is certainly locally important in the East of Scotland, with a few Internationally recognised sites, but the Cromarty Firth, Scapa Flow, and Sullom Voe have a shed load more SSSI’s, NNR’s and European designations to their name.

So – if ship to ship transfer of oil is so dangerous, and so threatening to local wildlife, why are the citizens of Edinburgh and Fife not up in arms to stop this terrible activity in ports outwith the East of Scotland.

Just curious………

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