An oil supply vessel has been earmarked to replace the emergency tug serving Orkney and Shetland.
The UK Government is in talks with oil industry bosses to replace the Anglian Sovereign, the last emergency towing vessel (ETV) operating in Scotland.
The proposal went before Shetland Islands Council on Thursday.
Councillors were angry at the coalition government's refusal to pay for the replacement vessel.
A report by harbour master Roger Moore also revealed that the emergency tug operating in the Minches would not be replaced.
The UK Government was unable to find a "viable or financial" case to retain the ETV, despite the fact the Anglian Sovereign was called to the aid of a cargo ship which ran aground on rocks in the Western Isles last week, hours after the local ETV was removed.
Mr Moore said: "Local professional opinion is that it was more by good luck than judgement that prevented any major pollution and allowed the recent grounding to float free without the use of a tug."
The Anglian Sovereign is currently anchored near Kirkwall, in Orkney, until its contract ends at midnight on Saturday.
The Grampian Frontier would be stationed at the Schiehallion oil field and would be able to respond to any incident in Orkney or Shetland within a 12-hour time frame.
Crew will need to undergo training before the vessel takes on an emergency tug role.
It is hoped that the agreement between the Treasury and Oil and Gas UK will be drawn up by the end of the week, but it is not yet known how long the vessel will be provided for.