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Petition against ship-to-ship oil transfers hits 100,000

Cromarty Firth Port Authority wants to transfer 8.6m tonnes of oil at sea a year.

Protest: Campaigners at the Scottish Parliament.
Protest: Campaigners at the Scottish Parliament. PA

A petition against ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth has been handed over to Highland Council after hitting 100,000 signatures.

Cromarty Firth Port Authority wants permission to transfer up to 8.6m tonnes of crude oil between vessels at sea every year.

The authority says the process is safe but campaigners claim it would put the local environment at risk.

About 103,000 people signed the petition against the application, which will be decided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The handover at 9am on Thursday followed protests at the Scottish Parliament and on beaches in the Moray Firth.

A spokesman for the Port of Cromarty Firth said: "The port has refined its ship to ship oil transfer licence application in response to the clarifications sought during the past twelve months from statutory stakeholders as well as communities bordering the Firth and beyond. 

"The Port is acting in the interests of the majority of our stakeholders but we do understand that some people are against our application. 

"They have the right to show their feelings by protesting, as they are doing. 

"As the statutory harbour authority, it is important our stakeholders understand that we have a legal obligation to protect the environment of the Cromarty Firth."

Following protests at Holyrood in January, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said was remained "unconvinced" oil transfers "can or should take place in the Cromarty Firth without resulting in an unacceptable risk to the marine environment".

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