The abandonment and cancelling of the funding for the Maritime Incident Response Group and the Emergency Towing Vessel Service by the Coalition shipping minister has been announced. This endangers seafarers, crews working on oil rigs and all those who access these islands by sea.
The Maritime Incident Response Group was established to deal with two major oil spills and the subsequent threats to Britain’s coastline. The Emergency Towing Vessel Service deals with some four incidents a week.
The safety systems these organisations developed are copied across the world as models of best practice for dealing with disasters. Yet again short-termism and false economy from the government puts lives and Britain’s marine and coastal environment at risk. ■