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Caithness News Bulletins July 2003

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Boats   Marine And Sea Links
The sinking of the Cyprus-registered cargo ship, Jambo, off the Summer Isles on Sunday, highlights the dangers of tankers and hazardous cargos sailing near the Highland coastline and the need for stricter monitoring and control of shipping movements in the Minch.

The Highland Councilís Vice-Convener, Dr Michael Foxley, is relieved that the 190ft long cargo ship was not carrying a recognised hazardous cargo but is concerned that the area might not be so lucky should another vessel get into trouble, run aground and sink.

He said: "This was an accident many of us knew was waiting to happen. We are very fortunate that the vessel was not carrying a hazardous cargo although there is obvious concern that the fuel oil will contaminate the marine environment and local fish farms. This is yet another serious incident in our coastal waters and the impact of a major disaster on our marine environment and the local economy does not bear thinking about."

He said the sinking highlighted the need for strict control over shipping in the Minches.

He said the Council would be redoubling its efforts to remove the Right of Innocent Passage of tankers carrying hazardous cargoes from its inshore waters.

He said: "Our position is that all large tankers and hazardous cargos should be routed west of St Kilda and that smaller cargo ships should be fitted with transponders so we can control their movements. We also need to seek compulsory reporting of movements around our shores, with pilotage where this is deemed necessary."

He also said that he intends to re-activate the Tankers in the Minch Working Group, of which he is a former chairman, to progress the campaign to tighten up movements in inshore waters.

The Jambo was en route from Ireland to Norway with 3,300 tonnes of zinc concentrate.

The Highland Council will be making urgent representations about coastal shipping to Europe, Westminster and the Scottish Executive.

Wreck's leaking fuel poses threat to fish farms
TESTS were continuing yesterday to ensure that the sunken cargo boat Jambo was not causing environmental damage off the west coast.