Tug row: The disputed boat pictured here freeing HMS Astute. Pic: © STV
A cargo ship ran aground on rocks in the Western Isles – but the emergency coastguard tug which could rescue it has been withdraw over funding cuts.
The MV Flinterspirt went too close to the east side of North Uist while heading south down the Minch.
The 4500-tonne Dutch bulk carrier was on its way to Belfast when the accident occured in a strong south west wind around 11pm on Monday.
Stornoway coastguards were attempting to assess if the ship was holed and if any fuel has spilled into the sea.
The Stornoway coastguard tug was withdrawn from duty at the weekend leaving the Minches without any emergency rescue vessel cover.
The UK government has cut funding and a meeting between the Scottish Office and Western Isles Council on Monday did not receive any commitment to reinstate the tug.
The government says it is up to the maritime industry to provide a commercial salvage vessel in coastal waters.