Highlands & Islands

Moray Firth campaigners to fight oil transfer plan

Oil tanker Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Over eight million tonnes of crude oil could be transferred each year

Campaigners fighting a plan to allow ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth are to hold a public meeting later.

Cromarty Firth Port Authority has applied for permission to carry out such operations off the Ross-shire coast.

Its application said it expected to make the transfers no more than four times each calendar month.

The campaigners said they fear the plan could cause an environmental disaster.

The port authorities have to be granted permission from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to allow the transfer of crude oil.

The application states that a maximum of 8,640,000 tonnes of crude oil would be transferred each year.

Ahead of a public meeting in the village of Cromarty, environmentalists have said the plan would pose a much greater risk than ship-to-ship transfers at the nearby Nigg oil terminal, which are already licensed.

They said they are concerned about the coastline and marine wildlife, including the dolphin population in the Moray Firth.

Ship-to-ship transfers are carried out within Scapa Flow in Orkney.

But an application to allow similar operations in the Firth of Forth was dropped eight years ago after a vigorous campaign of opposition.

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