Scilly To Have Say In National Maritime Incident Strategy

Steve Watt, Scilly's Maritime Officer

Scilly is set to have a significant say in national policy on what to do if there is a maritime pollution incident.

Steve Watt, our Maritime Officer, has been asked to represent to all ten of the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities on a body called PREMIAM, which will devise plans for responding to crises.

Our Council has been pushing for regulation and protocols in dealing with the risk or aftermath of a spill following the Braer disaster off Shetland in 1993.

They fought for a shipping exclusions zone around our islands and the prohibition of major commercial vessels from our waters was maintained in 1997 even though the Marine Coast Guard agency wanted it abolished.

A report by spill expert, Mark Kirby, states that Scilly has a key interest in ensuring that oil and chemical spills are dealt with effectively.

This is particularly relevant to St. Mary’s harbour as there are a number of store-pots around the lifeboat slip and in Porthmellon Bay.

Steve says some islanders are suggesting there needs to be a better plan of action if there were a spill here.

The lifeboat has a boom in case there is a spill when it refuels, but some equipment is dotted around the islands and shared between different owners like the Duchy and the Council.

He says emergency kit at the dump may not be easy to retrieve in a hurry or out-of-hours.