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Fears have been allayed

PUBLISHED: 12:02 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:02 06 July 2010

AS a Lowestoftian with past family connections to the sea, saddened by the demise of the fishing and offshore gas industries at the port, I have been more than pleased to observe the mini boom bought to the town by the usage of the anchorage offshore.

AS a Lowestoftian with past family connections to the sea, saddened by the demise of the fishing and offshore gas industries at the port, I have been more than pleased to observe the mini boom bought to the town by the usage of the anchorage offshore.

You will note that I have used the word anchorage, as most of the time this is what many of the ships are using our part of the North Sea for.

I have noticed that a container vessel recently visited and from time to time other cargo ships wait there for the weather to change or for orders as to their next destination, it is far more economical to anchor at sea than pay mooring fees in harbour. The size of these vessels would prohibit them from entering Lowestoft and now that craft are available to carry out crew change and provisioning, the port is developing a reputation for these services.

Well done to those local businesses for jumping on the bandwagon and, to one for moving its operational headquarters to the port from down the coast.

I was, however, concerned myself by the possibility of oil spillage, having seen the beaches oiled by the Eleni V disaster many years ago but was assured by a reliable source that when ship to ship transfers are taking place, the tug supplying the fenders and pipes was required to standby during the operation, having on board oil dispersants in case of an emergency.

Perhaps in order to dispel the pletherer of misinformation from the gloom and doom brigade and, in order to safeguard our valuable coastline, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency should charter a vessel to be on site permanently, as they do through Klyne Tugs locally, in order to prevent or assist with shipping collisions. A smaller type of vessel fitted with rapidly deployable dispersant spraying arms, as shown on the photograph supplied, and inflatable booms to contain any spillage, could surely help appease those of us whose fears are genuine and, retain valuable local employment.

JOHN SOANES

Meadowlands

Blundeston

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