COUNCIL bosses say they are carrying out 'thorough investigations' into reports of fumes billowing from a ship berthed at Hunterston.

Fairlie residents contacted the News to say that they have been forced to close their windows because of the the odour being carried from the Petrojarl Foinaven.

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

Black plumes of thick smoke have been seen emanating from the ship on several occasions.

Councillor Ian Murdoch contacted the council after the matter was reported to him by a number of constituents.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are carrying out thorough investigations to assess the levels of noise and fumes coming from the vessel.

“Measurements will be taken to assess against national standards for daytime noise and the potential impact on air quality/public health will also be considered.

“We will have more information when investigations are complete.”

A BP spokesperson 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."