Ship to ship transfers to continue off Southwold and Lowestoft coast

Oil companies have been given the go-ahead to continue the practice of ship-to-ship oil transfers off the Suffolk coast.

Shipping minister Mike Penning today confirmed the controversial practice would stand despite a wave of protest from residents in Southwold.

They feared the sight of the tankers on the horizon would hit the tourism trade in the town while any spill could be devastating for the coast.

Under the new legislation, Sole Bay will be the only place in UK waters where ship-to-ship oil transfers can take place.

The previous Government had moved to outlaw the practice altogether, supported by former Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer.

Consultation on the move to limit the transfers to Southwold, proposed by the new Government, had been extended to give local people their say.

In a written statement, Mr Penning told the House of Commons: 'Having taken account of all the representations made, both in the main review and in the extension of the review in February and March, I have again come to the conclusion that this is the appropriate course of action and that the designated area for ship-to-ship transfers (other than in harbour authority waters) shall be the waters off the Suffolk coast where ship-to-ship transfers are already carried out.

Most Read

'The recognition of these waters off the Suffolk coast as a suitable area for carrying out ship-to-ship transfers is based on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's and the industry's actual experience of the successful use of these waters for ship-to-ship transfer operations over a number of years without pollution of the seas and coasts.

'The MCA will continue to monitor such operations closely to ensure they are carried out to the highest possible safety standards.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter