The Coastguard and Maritime Agency has announced that the tug Anglian Sovereign, which has been patrolling the Minch in recent years, will be withdrawn from that duty next year. The tug was stationed in the waters between the Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland for safety purposes. The Minch is often used as a passage by large vessels (e.g. oil tankers and bulk carriers) at times of adverse weather conditions, and the tug was posted in the Minch to be able to render immediate assistance if any of these ships got into difficulties. I recall at least one such vessel being kept off the rocks by the Coastguard tug in recent years, and I dread to think what might happen now.
This service cut is part of the Government spending review, announced today.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Anglian Sovereign leaving Stornoway on 4 June 2009"][/caption]