Green MSP Ross Greer has written to the President of the Marshall Islands, urging him to ensure that the recent marine incident off Hunterston Jetty will be properly investigated.

The drilling vessel which broke from its moorings on 2nd February, the Valaris DS4, is registered in the Marshall Islands, a small Pacific islands nation.

This registration gives the government of the Marshall Islands primary responsibility for investigating incidents involving the ship.

While the Scottish Government confirmed in an answer to Ross Greer that Peel Ports (who own the port) will be carrying out their own investigation, Ross has asked the Marshall Islands authorities to play their role in ensuring the incident is not repeated.

He has written to the President of the Marshall Islands, David Kabua, and to William R Gallacher, President of International Registries Inc, the company given responsibility for issues regarding Marshall Islands registered ships.

Ross Greer, MSP for the West of Scotland, commented: “It’s plainly ridiculous that a vessel like this is registered under the flag of a country with which it has basically no connection. This is usually done to cut costs and avoid regulations, which means we need to push hard for a proper investigation.

"Ships under a flag of convenience such as this are infamous for regularly having lower environmental and labour standards and far greater safety risks.

"The UK Government and Peel Ports have a role to play here as well of course, and I hope they leave no stone unturned, but it’s important that the vessel’s own authorities are fully active too. Writing to the President of the Marshall Islands isn’t something I expected to do in this job but local residents deserve a full investigation, so I will make every effort to secure one.

“We were clearly incredibly fortunate that what happened on 2nd February wasn’t a lot worse.

"As North Ayrshire Council consider once more whether the plans for decommissioning oil rigs at Hunterston will need an Environmental Impact Assessment, this shows just how fragile the local coastline is.”