We’ll fight ship-to-ship

15/05/07,TSPL, SCOTSMAN, NEWS, FIRTH OF FORTH PICTURE TO ILLUSTRATE THE SHIP TO SHIP OIL TRANSFERS IN THE FORTH.PICTURE SHOWS VARIOUS TANKERS AND CONTAINER SHIPS BERTHED IN FIRTH OF FORTH WITH NORTH BERWICK LAW  SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND.' PIC IAN RUTHERFORD
15/05/07,TSPL, SCOTSMAN, NEWS, FIRTH OF FORTH PICTURE TO ILLUSTRATE THE SHIP TO SHIP OIL TRANSFERS IN THE FORTH.PICTURE SHOWS VARIOUS TANKERS AND CONTAINER SHIPS BERTHED IN FIRTH OF FORTH WITH NORTH BERWICK LAW SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND.' PIC IAN RUTHERFORD
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FIFE councillors have vowed to continue the campaign to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Forth.

The Council made its position very clear at a meeting of the environment, enterprise and transportation committee on Thursday in Glenrothes.

The local authority’s opposition to the plans has been all-party and consistent ever since the proposals were first revealed in 2005.

Councillors agreed that all options to move against ship-to-ship oil transfers should be looked into - and it has also not ruled out legal action.

Council bosses are now seeking talks with ministers at the new Scottish Government to discuss how to proceed and will look at working with other local authorities to ensure there is a co-ordinated response against the plans.

The move came after the Council sought legal advice from Douglas Armstrong, leading QC, after it became aware that any regulations made under UK law would not completely stop the transfers.

Harbour authorities like Forth Ports are still expected to be able to apply for an oil transfer licence under the new legislation - the implementation of which has been delayed until at least October.

But Fife Council hopes powers under the new Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 will give it more options.

Any measures taken by the local authority will not make the ship-to-ship oil transfers illegal but it will make it very difficult for the operators to go ahead.

No plans

In a report to the committee, Michael Enston, the Council’s executive director, performance and organisational support, said: “There are no current ship-to-ship transfer proposals for the Firth of Forth.

‘‘However, it is clear that any regulations made under the UK legislation will be permissive rather than prohibitive.

‘‘If the Council wishes to pursue its opposition, the provisions of the Marine (Scotland) Act might present an opportunity to do this.

‘‘However, the main powers to act under the 2010 Act remain with the Scottish Government and it is suggested that dialogue be opened up with the new administration.’’