A Government agency has defended the decision to scrap an emergency tug in the English Channel, claiming it was not the best use of public money. The controversial removal of the Anglian Monarch from the Dover Straits – one the busiest shipping lanes in the world – along with three other UK tugs in September will save £10 million a year.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said the public should not be made to foot the bill when ships get into trouble on the seas. Dover’s tug is sent out to tow stricken vessels to safety to avoid an environmental disaster – many of the hundreds of ships passing through the English Channel each day carry oil and chemical waste. But the MCA spokesman said it was the responsibility of ship owners to remove their vessels from the Channel, not the Government.
“If every time an articulated lorry was to break down at the side of the road the public had to pay to get it towed, people would not be very happy,” he said. “We are confident capacity in the commercial salvage industry will be enough to cover the removal of the tugs.”