Local News for Monday 11th September 2017

Major exercise at Stornoway Airport
Emergency teams from all services were involved in a major exercise at Stornoway Airport on Saturday, testing effective working between teams on a simulated major incident. As well as fire, police and ambulance officers, Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team and the MCA duty officer AC18 welcomed what they called: “Great training with partner agencies and a major test of interoperability and incident command.”

4G trial for islands
Mobile phone provider O2 has announced that work is under way to bring 4G service to Howmore on the Isle of South Uist and to Breasclete and Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis. The work started two weeks ago and local MP Angus MacNeil said that some O2 customers have noticed that 4G is already available. He said:”It is good to see progress being made on improving the mobile coverage in our islands and I hope that mobile operators will work together ensure that all areas will have 4G.”

Inquiry brings fresh action calls
Last week’s release of the report into the grounding of the oil rig Transocean Winner at Dalmore beach in 2016 has brought calls from politicians for more safeguards to be put into place. Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said that the fact the rig got into a dangerous situation with an under powered tug and a tow line that was showing signs of wear and tear raised questions about how such voyages are authorised, and about the availability of emergency tug support. He said: “In this instance we are told that because the Transocean Winner was unmanned the Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) would have been unable to assist, but even if the rig had been manned the ETV would have taken too long to reach the scene. An ETV is an insurance policy and we need to be able to protect lives and the environment in the event of an incident.”
Meanwhile Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is calling for direct action, calling it ‘inexcusable’ that the towing company ignored safety guidelines and left the Transocean Winner unable to navigate the waters west of Lewis. She said: “This was a disaster looking for a location and the location the disaster found was Dalmore, a wonderfully scenic place on the west side of Lewis, where matters got much worse as the rig then leaked around 55,000 litres of diesel into the sea around the peaceful beach. I support the call from environmentalists to investigate grounds for prosecutions as this will be the only way these practices will be eradicated.”

Shellfish warning
Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in East Loch Roag in Lewis. Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and it is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.

On Friday Ness beat Stornoway United 4-nil in the much-delayed semi-finals of the Lewis Moldova Cup, setting up a final on September 23rd between themselves and Aths at Goathill.
Saturday’s cup final between Westside and Carloway was moved to Creagan Dubh from an unplayable Goathill pitch, where Westside kept hold of the Co-Op Cup by beating Carloway 3-nil.
And in the Community Football League Cup Tolsta beat the Rangers Club 4-2, depriving the Rangers Club of their second piece of silverware this season. They previously won The Sea Angling Cup. It was Tolsta’s first trophy, seeing them lift the CFL Cup after a hard-fought victory.

Lewis Camanachd travelled away for one of the last games of the season against Caberfeidh on Saturday, only to be beaten 4-1 by the home team. Lewis’s only goal was scored by Kieran Macdonald in the 60th minute. Lewis’s penultimate game this season will be played away against Lochaber next Saturday.