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GSD calls for ‘full investigation’ into oil spill

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The GSD has called for a full investigation into the causes of last Friday’s oil spill so that lessons can be learnt to improve Gibraltar’s response to such situations.

In a statement, the Opposition acknowledged the Gibraltar Government’s statement that the authorities here reacted “relatively quickly” and together with the Spanish authorities adopted a coordinated approach which mitigated the worst effects of the spill.

Even so, it said “serious questions” remained about the incident and called on the Gibraltar Government to review its practices and procedures.

The GSD added that all appropriate enquiries should be made of the master and crew of the cargo ship AM Ghent and all other relevant parties to establish the exact cause of the spill and ensure that those responsible should make reparations for the cost of the clean-up operation and the damage sustained to Gibraltar’s shoreline.

“The shocking images of polluted seas and rescued wildlife should act as wake up call to our community that we must look towards greater protection of our environment in all aspects,” said Elliott Phillips, the shadow minister for the environment.

“The GSD has long questioned the Government's commitment to real changes which could improve the quality of life for all in our community.”

“Air quality is increasingly being raised as a major issue of concern for Gibraltar residents and the oil spill in the Bay on Friday reinforces and highlights the contribution that industry is having on our environment.”

“The Government must do more to ensure that vessels anchored within our territorial waters meet the highest possible standards with as little impact on our environment as can be achieved.”

“In short, we must ensure that the causes of the oil spill are fully investigated so that important lessons are learned.”

“If liability rests with the ship owners, we expect that they will make full reparations for the environmental damage caused.”

Damon Bossino, the shadow minister for the port, said the effects of the spill brought into question the protocols and systems Gibraltar has in place to limit any damage caused by accidents of this nature.

“Questions also arise in terms of the direct cost that the operations have resulted in,” he added.

“It is also important to understand which private companies were involved in the clean-up and other activities to contain the spill and understand whether the government is satisfied that they had the necessary resources and equipment available to them. “

“The GSD will raise these questions in Parliament to ensure that there is full transparency.”

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