A CONTROVERSIAL offshore supply ship which sparked a council probe has departed Hunterston.

Fairlie Community Council raised concerns about the Foinaven Petrojarl when smoke was seen emanating from the ship as a result of start-up of engines and boilers.

Residents reported 'putrid fumes' pouring into their homes, which led to North Ayrshire Council into carrying out an investigation.

The ship, which has been berthed at Hunterston Terminal since August, was no longer carrying any oil.

It had a history of servicing oil rigs and has reached the end of its design life, and is set to be decommissioned and was transferred to Hunterston on an interim basis to facilitate a safe handover to the owners, the Teekay Corporation.

While at Hunterston, some BP equipment was removed from the vessel before Teekay took ownership.

The vessel is now heading to Fredrikshavin in Denmark.

During its 66 days at the deep water jetty for 66 days there were numerous complaints from locals about noise and smell nuisances. Its arrival followed the controversy caused when one of two drill ships based at Hunterston broke its moorings and, for a time, threatened to crash into Cumbrae. This resulted in Peel Ports carrying out a a review of their own risk assessment for the lay-up of such vessels, with additional mitigation measures put in place.

Local councillor Ian Murdoch said: "I sit on the Hunterston PARC liaison group and we want Peel Ports to be good neighbours, not just to Fairlie, but the rest of the north coast and the wider area.

"Tourism is our largest industry and employer so the two need to work hand in hand, with Hunterston PARC focusing on becoming eco friendly.

"Having ships berthed there 24 hours a day for months on end doesn't really connect with promoting the site as a green energy park in my view."

A spokesperson for Peel Ports said: "People should be reassured that, as a working port, Hunterston PARC continues to provide berths for different vessels but we comply fully with all relevant health, safety and environmental requirements."

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We carried out a number of inspections and noise, odour and smoke levels were not detected as presenting a statutory nuisance.

“No follow-up action was required.”

Photo: Luigi Giorgetti