According to the chief inspector of marine accidents, the UK coast is at risk of an environmental disaster because of the scrapping of emergency tugs that rescue ships in storms.
Steve Clinch said that there was an argument that “we are probably overdue a significant major accident” and the costs of the effect of that, compared to those for reinstating safety vessels need to be evaluated.
A collision off Kent, involving a drifting cargo ship has exposed the lack of protection in the Dover Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The captain lost control of the 29,000-tonne Saga Sky during Strom Angus in November 2016 and radioed for a tug.
According to a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), none was available because the government had scrapped the national fleet of four “emergency towing vessels (ETVs) in 2011 to save money”.