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Ship-to-ship oil transfer plans opposed

The National Trust has expressed their unease that an oil spill from a tanker close to the coast of the UK could have severe consequences to wildlife. The new minister for transport, Mike Penning, is planning to allow ship-to-ship transfers of oil off the coast of Suffolk, stating that the transfer of all liquids

“...will be very strictly controlled”.

However, the National Trust states that many small spills go unnoticed. Martin Atkinson, a National Trust property manager stated:

"We are concerned there could be damage to this important habitat should the worst happen,"

The transfer of oils would be controlled in a single designated area, and ships transferring oil would require a permit. Mr Penning further stated:

"The previous government had attempted to ban any ship-to-ship.

"But actually, what they were going to do was push it all 12.1 miles offshore, so we had no control over them at all.

"What we've got now is legislation in place which will protect the environment and allow the industry to safely do the work they need to do."

However, in response John Perkins, who is the secretary of the Southwold and Reydon society stated:

"You've got dozens of fairly poorly maintained Russian oil tankers with 10,000 to 30,000 gallons on board and the law of averages will tell you that whatever precautions somebody takes, you are going to get an accident.

"There are 30,000 jobs in Suffolk that depend on tourism and if suddenly all of your coastline is covered in oil, who is going to come here?"

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