Highlands & Islands

Request on ship-to-ship oil transfers 'standard protocol', says port

Oil tankers
Image caption A licence has been sought for ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Moray Firth

A port authority seeking permission for ship-to-ship transfers of oil has said withdrawing and resubmitting its application is "standard protocol".

Port of Cromarty Firth has applied for a licence to transfer oil at sea in the Moray Firth.

A campaign opposes the plan because of concerns that the operations would harm the environment.

It emerged this week that the port authority has been asked to withdraw the application it made in 2015.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which considers applications for ship-to-ship transfers in consultation with other organisations, requested the withdrawal and resubmission.

Resubmitting the application would mean fresh public consultation on the port authority's plans.

'Dates soon'

Bob Buskie, chief executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: "Asking us to withdraw and resubmit our application is standard protocol in this scenario.

"It is nothing we weren't expecting when we committed to undertaking further public consultation. We will be following the standing application protocol, as directed by the MCA."

He said "refinements" have been made to the initial application.

Mr Buskie said: "This detailed package of work is now complete and we will submit our refined application on schedule.

"We are confident the refined application answers the questions raised and will reassure our stakeholders that we can continue to undertake these operations safely.

"Further details of public consultation dates and events will be published soon."

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