All at sea

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Your article (19 February) on the grounding of the Lysblink Seaways off Kilchoan missed the most important point of this episode.

In 1972 the UK government reduced cover of the West Coast by emergency tugs to one. This vessel is based at Kirkwall. It did not even leave Orkney till 7am, five hours after the cargo vessel went ashore.

Had a tug been based at Stornoway, as before, it could have been standing by the beached vessel at high tide, and looked at the chances of re-floating the casualty.

Had the vessel been an oil tanker and a major spillage occurred, the short-sighted cut in cover for marine accidents would have been shown in a potentially disastrous light.

Alasdair H