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New fuel tanks will be a great boost for fishermen 23 February 2006

    The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has received confirmation from the Harbours Division of the Department of Transport that the self-service fuel tanks being installed at the Island's four main fishing ports will be operated by the Manx Fish Producers' Organisation (MFPO).

    The Minister, Phil Gawne MHK, said, "The addition of these facilities to the Island's harbours will be of advantage to all marine users, but will be particularly helpful to the Island's fishermen."

    "Fishermen are well-known for working long and varied hours, dictated by weather, tidal and market conditions. As a result, they have often been forced to pay call-out rates for delivery of fuel outside of office hours. The delivery systems will allow fuel to be taken whenever tidal conditions and harbour operations allow, reducing costs for the industry and assisting fishermen to maximise their time at sea."

    The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has funded four self-service fuel tanks for installation in Douglas, Ramsey, Port St Mary and Peel. The first two tanks, in Douglas and Peel, are expected to become operational about 15th March. Fuel will eventually be made available to all port users, via the use of swipe cards that will be available from the MFPO. It is expected that the system will be able to take credit/debit cards in the not-too-distant future.

    "I am particularly pleased to have received confirmation that the MFPO has been awarded the tender to operate these fuel facilities," said the Minister. "The formation of the MFPO has allowed the Island's fishermen access to stocks previously denied to them. I am hopeful that adding fuel provision to the range of services already provided by the MFPO will strengthen it, and encourage further vessels to join."

    "I am also grateful for the practical assistance that has been provided throughout this project by the Harbours Division."

    The funding and organisation of the installation of the tanks has been undertaken by the Harbours Division of the Department of Transport, which has accepted on-going responsibility for them.

    23rd February 2006

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