Forth ship-to-ship oil transfers approved

CONTROVERSIAL ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth were today given the green light.

The decision was greeted with horror by environmental groups, who have warned oil spills could spoil public enjoyment of the Forth and devastate sensitive natural habitats. And Fife councillors were considering possible legal action to stop the transfers.

The go-ahead for the plans came when the Maritime and Coastguard Agency today announced its intention to approve the contingency plan put forward by Forth Ports plc to deal with any oil spill. The decision is now expected to be rubber-stamped by Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander, paving the way for Forth Ports to agree plans by Melbourne Marine Services to transfer up to eight million tonnes of Russian crude oil every year.