A Member of Parliament representing Orkney and Shetland has warned that fisherman there are at risk due to ‘ordnance left there from the end of the second world war’.
Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Home Affairs, asked in Parliament:
“Fishermen working in Scapa Flow occasionally still dredge up ordnance left there from the end of the second world war. My constituent Ian Spence did exactly that in January this year. For the loss of a day’s fishing, damage to his gear and the personal danger in which he was put, he was given an ex gratia payment of £228. Can the Secretary of State explain to me and to my constituent why he considers that to be adequate?”
Ben Wallace, The Secretary of State for Defence, responded:
“I will have to look at the detail of that case, and I am happy to write to the right hon. Gentleman. Compensation and liability are obviously linked to who is at fault, and I will ensure that I furnish him with the details.”
Carmichael was also reported as saying:
“We need a systematic sweep of Scapa Flow to clear out any remaining ordnance.”
Scapa Flow was one of the United Kingdom’s main naval bases during the First and Second World Wars, the facility was closed in 1956 and since the scuttling of the German fleet after World War I, its wrecks and their marine habitats form an internationally acclaimed diving location.