Campaigners fighting against planned ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth have handed a petition with more than 100,000 names to Highland Council.
Port of Cromarty Firth has proposed the transfers of oil at sea. It has said the work could be done safely and without risk to the environment.
In January, it withdrew an application for a license for the operations and began preparations on a resubmission.
The petition was handed to council leader Margaret Davidson.
Campaigners oppose the planned transfers because of concerns that the operations would harm the environment.
It emerged in January that the port authority had been asked to withdraw the application it made in 2015.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which considers applications for ship-to-ship transfers in consultation with other organizations, requested the withdrawal and resubmission.
Resubmitting the application would mean fresh public consultation on the port authority’s plans.
The Port of Cromarty Firth said the request from the MCA was “standard protocol”.
Fresh consultation will not take place until after Scotland’s local government elections in May.
A spokesman for the port authority said: “Due to the amount of work involved in reviewing the refined application, it is unlikely this will be completed to allow the 42-day consultation before the pre-council election period.”
“We will not be submitting the refined application during this pre-election period as it is critical that all stakeholders have the time to consider the document in full.”
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