Emergency towing and salvage plans in place in case Millennium bug strikes shipping round UK

Three new tugs are being brought into service in the UK ahead of schedule this year in case of ‘Millennium Bug’ mayhem. The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) will base the new vessels at Stornoway, Falmouth and Dover to provide emergency towing cover and to help protect the coastline from possible marine accidents and pollution when the date changes to ’00’.

John Garner, the MCA’s head of operations, stresses that the organisation itself is fully Y2K compliant, but adds: “It is not clear that all vessels which ply our coasts may have taken precautions”. The MCA believes that shipping accidents caused by equipment that ceases to function early in 2000 is a possibility, but that the location of the three new tugs, effectively at three corners of the country, will lessen the risks.