ESG regards Friday’s minor oil spill in the harbour and nearby area as a reminder of Port impact on the marine environment. Smells of fuel in the residential areas close to the Port were noted on Friday evening when the accident occurred and details emerging today have shed light on the cause. Bunkering operations were believed to have been behind this latest incident and the ESG is advised that Govt and the Port have responded very quickly to avert the worst impact from the spill.
The ESG also understands that a full statement from Government and the Port will be issued shortly on the matter. The group nevertheless remains concerned that it is perhaps due to the proximity of the oil spill occurring close to the Port area that on this occasion we have been better able to identify the culprit, respond with a full on clean up, and hopefully apply the polluter paying principle.
Had the bunkering operation taken place at a greater distance to shore, the results could have been very different. The group recognises this is a minor spill but it is an indicator of what can happen with far worse consequences for the natural environment had the volume, believed to have been around 1 to 2 cubic metres, been greater and out at sea. It only takes a little oil to destroy wildlife like seabirds and fish, and our water intakes located in the area can also be put at risk.
With bunkering taking place at four separate ports in the Strait of Gibraltar all minor oil spills add up and impact on the natural environment stressing the need for utmost vigilance and best practice to be applied on all such activity.”
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