I AM no expert in the field of moving 17,000 tonne oil rigs around our coasts, but I have great difficulty in accepting the statement from Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) chief executive Sir Alan Massey that the Transocean Winner incident did not signal the need to return to two towing vessels (“MPs told no need for pair of tow tugs’, The Herald, November 22).

Even in calm weather, I would have thought that at least two tugs would be required for such a huge structure, in case one broke down, or in the event of an increased sea swell. Sir Alan is reported to have described the weather conditions at the time to be “phenomenal”, yet he still thinks only one tug is sufficient.

We are told that there was a leak of some 53,000 litres of oil into the sea, but not to worry as “it is thought there was no damage to the environment”. Is this the strongest statement that can be made, that “it is thought” there was no damage – does no-one know? Has no-one checked? Or is no-one saying?

One of the policies of the MCA states: “We regulate vessels in UK waters, working with industry and international colleagues setting standards for maritime safety and security.” Therefore, by definition of its own policy, there has been a failure here on the part of the MCA that should be addressed.

It seems to me that Sir Alan is simply defending a UK Government cost-cutting exercise that has gone disastrously wrong, and could have been much worse. I worry for the safety and preservation of the unique environment of our coastlines, as well as for the communities that depend on them.

Dennis White,

4 Vere Road, Blackwood, Lanark.