FAIRLIE locals have been left fuming over emissions from a controversial oil ship berthed at Hunterston jetty.

Residents have slammed the 'unacceptable smell' they say is being created by the Petrojarl Foinaven, a floating production, storage and offloading vessel which has been producing oil from the Foinaven field off Shetland for the past 25 years.

Before its arrival earlier this month, harbour owners Peel Ports said that it was stopping off for leased and owned office equipment to be removed.

However locals says fumes polluted Fairlie at the weekend, with black plumes seen emanating from the ship as pictures were shared on local community websites.

Villager Mairi McCartan was among those who contacted the News to complain.

She said: "I would like to draw people's attention to the awful smell of fumes which are emanating from the Foinaven.

"The vessel has been berthed in Fairlie since August 8, but over the last few days the smell has got worse.

"I have been unable to open my windows because it got so bad, never mind go out walking or sit in the garden. Being exposed to this is unacceptable."

Fairlie Community Council chairman Rita Holmes also said the smell had become an issue.

She said: "On Friday afternoon, I had to close all my windows as the plume drifted over the village. It was foul. Are we supposed to put up with this deterioration in air quality so Peel Ports can make money out of a decrepit jetty?"

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch says he has written to North Ayrshire Council asking them about the concerns raised by my constituents.

He added: "There has been a very strong smell of fuel oil - so the matter is now being investigated.

"Emissions include very thick black smoke and with the change in wind direction it can sometimes move in the direction of Fairlie.

"Peel Ports have been promoting PARC as green energy and low carbon industry but we have had drill ships operating with their engines on for months - and now we have something even more extreme."

Owners BP told the News last month that the ship is being transferred to Hunterston on an' interim basis to facilitate a safe handover to the new owners, the Teekay Corporation.

A BP spokesman said: "

“Safety is central to everything bp does and we always seek to minimise the impact of our operations on the communities in which we operate. We are sorry to hear about the experiences of some members of the Hunterston community, with whom we continue to engage with directly.

“The smoke seen was the result of start-up of engines and boilers. While this activity may be required in the future, it is infrequent and does not reflect typical day-to-day activity on site.

“We continue to liaise with the port operator and other relevant authorities as required, and to monitor our activities in order to seek to reduce any impacts on the local area.”