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Spain assists Gibraltar with more than just token gesture


gibfocus - 17th August 2007
(2007-08-17 22:20:00 )

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The collision last week between the cargo ship New Flame and the oil tanker Torm Gertrude has seen maritime sources reveal an unprecedented level of co-operation from the Spanish side which has led to questions over Gibraltar's own capabilities in handling major incidents.

Informed maritime sources have this week revealed that Spanish vessels have assisted Gibraltar Port Authority officials in transportion to the ship throughout the week after a lack of crews and vessels led to the port being under resourced.

On several occassions throughout the week observers have pointed out that Spanish salvamento vessels have entered Gibraltar waters and transported personnel to the collision site. The reports come at the same time as maritime sources reveal that repairs to port launches were believed to be taking place.

After last Sunday's incident, other sources have also revealed that key personnel manning both civilian authority vessels and MoD vessels were not available for duty. The MoD is said to have been forced to leave their main tug boat the Capable at berth after personnel were missing due to holidays, and under staffing.

AN operation on Monday which saw port launches and other local vessels around the stricken cargo vessel are also said to have seen non-marine personnel onboard the vessels to make up the numbers.

The initial assistance by Spanish maritime authorities, claims experts, was amongst one of the key issues which allowed for the containment of what some say could have been a major disaster.

However, whilst under resourced, maritime experts have praised the rapid deployment of resources from both Spain and Gibraltar in containing a potential disaster. The incident, however, giving rise to concerns over the level of resources afforded to the maritime authorities in Gibraltar which, as some experts claim, deals with a larger than normal volume of maritime operations in the bay and Straits area than other similar sized ports.




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