Highlands & Islands

Lewis-based emergency tug withdrawn

Anglian Sovereign. Pic: Simon Riley/MCA
Image caption A funding package for the west coast tug has come to an end

A tug providing coastguard cover off west Scotland has been withdrawn from duties after interim UK government funding for it ended.

The vessel and another covering the Northern Isles were retained temporarily after other emergency tugs were withdrawn from service in 2011.

The contract for the boat covering the west coast and Western Isles ran out on Saturday.

Emergency towing vessel cover remains in place for Orkney and Shetland.

The Scotland Office told BBC Radio Scotland that talks were continuing on future cover for west Scotland.

Vessels hired to carry out Maritime and Coastguard Agency duties around the UK coastline were withdrawn in 2011 as part of cost cutting.

But protests led to tugs returning to bases in Lewis and Shetland on a temporary basis.

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