SHIP to ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth are to be debated next week in the Scottish Parliament.
Green MSP John Finnie has submitted a parliamentary motion on the issue, which will be debated on Wednesday.
Mr Finnie said: "If ship to ship oil transfers are allowed in the Moray Firth the consequences for marine life, including the iconic pod of bottlenose dolphins, could be catastrophic.
"The potential impact on the tourism sector - so important to the local economy - cannot be overstated. I am therefore glad that my motion has achieved cross party support, and I look forward to leading a debate next week.
"The overwhelming majority of communities in the area, who would be in the front line of any oil spill, are opposed to ship to ship oil transfers, as are thousands across the country as the signatures on Cromarty Rising’s petition demonstrates."
Yesterday (Thursday) morning The Public Petition’s Committee heard evidence from three leading members of the Cromarty Rising pressure group, which succeeded earlier this month in gathering 100,000 signatures against allowing the transfers.
These currently take place between vessels anchored up in port at Nigg.
However, the Cromarty Firth Port Authority had applied for a licence to transfer up to eight million gallons of oil each year out on the open sea.