Anti-Oil Transfers Action in Scotland on 24th March

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) will be joining local recreational water users in Scotland on the 24th March to protest against a proposal for ship-to-ship oil transfers to take place in the Firth of Forth.

DEMO DETAILS: The ‘Surfers Against Slicks’ events will take place on Saturday 24th March at North Berwick beach (east beach) from 11am till noon. Then again at Portobello Beach (meeting outside Dalriada pub), same day, 3 to 4pm.

The actions will see SAS join together with local business representatives, Green MSPs and members of the coastal communities to highlight the threat the ship-to-ship oil transfers pose to the local economy and environment.

If SPT Marine, the company making the application are successful then 7.8 million tonnes of Russian crude oil a year could be pumped between tankers in the Forth. The Russian export blend crude oil has been describes as very dense, thick oil, making it particularly persistent in the event of a spillage.

A Scottish Green Party investigation has already found SPT were responsible for spilling around 35,000 gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico - but failed to disclose the information when providing official evidence to the Scottish Parliament. In written evidence to the parliament the company, SPT Marine, claimed an "excellent" record on ship to ship oil transfers by only referring to incidents dated after a shocking oil spill in 1995.

SAS are particularly concerned that the decision to consent (or not) will be made by the private company, Forth Ports plc's Board, who are set to benefit financially from the contract. At present they do not require confirmation by Scottish Ministers or the UK Government. SAS believe that the ultimate say on specific proposals lies with publicly-elected and accountable Executive ministers, not a private company.

SAS are disappointed that to date Ministers have failed to make simple amendments to existing legislation to ensure that they, and not Forth Ports plc, make the final decision on the Forth proposals.

Alasdair Steele, SAS Scotland Representative says: “The Firth of Forth is an exceptional marine environment and is highly valued by its many recreational water users who use the water all year round. It is therefore vital that its future is safeguarded against potential dangers such as ship-to-ship oil transfers. SAS believe the Scottish Executive urgently needs to step in and take control of the decision making process to ensure the health of the Forth is not undermined by potentially lucrative contracts for Forth Ports”