The usual greed and utter contempt of men for the environment is about to be exposed yet again. In the magnificent Moray Firth in the north of Scotland, the antics of The Cromarty Firth Port Authority, it’s CEO Bob Buskie and assorted cronies, need to be seen for what they are – the masterminds of an environmental catastrophe in the making.
The Cromarty Firth Port Authority are reapplying for a licence for ship to ship crude oil transfers in the Moray Firth, not for the UK, as if that was any good reason, but for smaller tankers from the Baltic to transfer oil into larger tankers for global distribution.
Bob Buskie, whose demesne is on the north side of the Firth, has the arrogance to refuse to have consulted with the south side, the counties of Nairn and Moray, which would take the brunt of any spill on their pristine and ecologically unique beaches.
The Moray Firth is home to the greatest number, and largest sized resident pod of Dolphins in the world. They have been a vital resource of scientific data for over 30 years.
They are hugely loved in the area and give many people the magic experience of being close to them in respectful ways, in the hands of experienced local businesses whose existence depends on the Dolphins
The Dolphins have been in the Moray Firth for as long as the Firth has been good to them, possibly for thousands of years.
The indigenous folk of the Firth, be they ancient or modern, have had a long and joyous interaction with these wonderful animals.
Many respected scientists are of the opinion cetaceans are fully sentient, conscious beings with family and social structures at least as complex as ours.
Yes, this is a long post and the evidence behind the scenes against this plan in immense, as are the alleged shenanigans of the protagonists, the supine and dismissive behaviour of the local MSP Fergus Ewing and the Scottish Government.
HERE ARE SOME SALIENT POINTS:
• The Moray Firth is a designated Area of Conservation
• It is home and migratory staging post for large numbers of birds
• There are plentiful colonies of seals
• The local fishing industry is getting back into gear
• The Moray/Nairn coast consists of 45 miles of pristine sand beaches
• This plan will allow near super-tanker size ships to moor in the middle of one of the finest landscapes in Britain
• The value of tourism to the area is £275m p/a
• Ballast water discharges will occur in the shallow, warm waters of the Moray Firth. Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) are a threat to the entire ecological system
• The annual cost to the British economy from INNS is estimated at £1.7 billion (CABI Research, Defra sponsored)
• The noise of the piles being driven into the sea bed will disturb and terrify local marine fauna for many miles.
• The coasts of the Firth are full of SSSI’s and Designated Nature Reservations
• Any oil spill will take 4-5 hours to reach the Moray/Nairn coast, it is impossible to protect the beaches in time.
• The beaches and foreshore on the south side are flat with a long tidal foreshore so the ‘smear’ effect will be all the more damaging.
• The spillage reaction plan is based on 1 tonne being spilled, it is pumped at a rate to 2 tonnes per second. This was reduced from a figure of 300,000 tonnes, for the purposes of this licence application, as the figure from which to plan spillage procedures.
• It is humanly impossible to shut off the system in under 30 seconds according to other sources involved in the safety measures of these operations
• Any spill will be drawn into the unique Findhorn Bay within 12 hours
• To repeat, Bob Buskie, CEO Cromarty Firth Ports Authority (CFPA) has refused to involve the Moray/Nairn stakeholders in any consultations
• CFPA has received £4m from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The guidelines for Port Authorities under European procurement rules and use of public money para. 1.1.4 states ‘Trust Ports operate in a commercial environment with no public funding’ The rules have been disregarded
• Safe facilities for transfer are already in situ in the port of Cromarty and have been proven for over 30 years
• The ships in the Firth will be subjected to high winds and a 3.5-meter tide while making the transfers.
THERE HAS BEEN PLENTY OF OPPOSITION
More than 100,000 have signed a petition. #NOS2S #waterprotectors
Nicola Sturgeon has received over 500 personal letters.
When such a scheme was mooted for the Firth of Forth, the squeals of opposition form the area squashed the plan immediately.
“Let’s send it north! There’s nothing of any value above Perth!”
The paper trail in the public domain, clearly shows the Scottish Government and Mr. Ewing being, shall we say, economical with the truth. Bob Buskie and his cronies, it is estimated, should the allegations of foul play and a system of shelf companies (more than 8) be true, stand to make a pretty private penny riding on the back of a public trust.
Even the smallest spill will have a distinct detrimental effect. The fumes from the transfers alone will cause damage.
PLEASE CAUSE A RUCKUS ON FACEBOOK
THE IDIOTIC CROMARTY PORT AUTHORITY MUST BE STOPPED IN THEIR TRACKS AND MR. BUSKIE REMOVED FROM HIS POST FOR ABUSING HIS POSITION OF TRUST
Join Cromarty Rising
CROMARTY FIRTH PORT AUTHORITY
Do check out the website and see the sort of men with whom we are dealing
+44(0) 1349 852308
Write to Fergus Ewing
His constituency office is
112 Church Street,
Telephone: 01463 713004
His Scottish Parliament address is
The Scottish Parliament
Write to Nicola, or email her……
Ms. Nicola Sturgeon, MSP
First Minister of Scotland
Dear Ms. Sturgeon
Proposed Ship-to-Ship Oil transfers in the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation
As the Leader of our Government, it is your responsibility to ensure Scotland’s beautiful land and seascapes are protected for future generations. Marine reports prepared by your Departments explicitly state that ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil could have serious detrimental effects on our onshore and marine environments.
Indeed, you stated in the Scottish Parliament (12/1/17):
“On the basis of the current information, the Scottish Government is unconvinced that ship-to-ship oil transfers can, or should, take place at anchor in the Cromarty Firth without unacceptable risk to the marine environment—in particular the European Union designated area for bottlenose dolphins.”
You also stated regarding concerned constituents:
“I assure them that the Scottish Government absolutely hears their concerns and will continue to do everything we can to make sure that they are heard by those who take the decisions.”
You allude to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, who will determine any new application. But you do not have to allow a non-elected body in Southampton to take control. You and the Scottish Government can do at least two things to prevent such potentially devastating operations in our inshore waters:
1. You can use your powers to refuse to issue the required licence to disturb bottlenose dolphin and other European Protected Species http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0044/00446679.pdf
2. You can sit down and talk to the Cromarty Firth Port Authority, and persuade them to stop this.
You don’t have to let others take this decision. Your Government has the power to make sure people are heard. You can decide to respect the will of more than 100,000 people who have registered their opposition to ship-to-ship crude oil transfers on the 38 Degrees Scotland site.
I respectfully urge you to use your powers to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.