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  • ESG comment on Bunkering

    The ESG wholeheartedly supports GONHS in its call for the bunkering operators to respond to the complaints made by the public of the fuel oil stench that has been invading certain areas of Gibraltar for close to a year.

    The ESG considers that the huge volumes of fuel oil that are transhipped on a daily basis in Gibraltar (latest figures quoted of 4 million tonnes per year and growing) represent a serious potential health-risk to the population. Even if there is no spillage, the gases released during a bunkering operation include benzene (a known carcinogen which can trigger leukaemia) amongst other chemicals which cause irritation and disease.

    The group believes that the government and the industry need to work together to ACTIVELY protect the public from any exposure to these harmful gases. The current ongoing situation, whereby residents across the whole western side of Gibraltar are sporadically “gassed” is totally unacceptable.

    In its efforts to safeguard the health of residents, the ESG is launching a new “Clean bunkering” campaign which will involve:-

    i) Consulting the management of all local bunkering companies and the relevant government ministers and officials (Port and Environment) to find and implement measures that will reduce the public health impact to an absolute minimum
    ii) Taking air samples as necessary in response to complaints from the public
    iii) Providing relevant facts and figures in order to raise public awareness of the gases released during bunkering and of their direct effect on health

    The ESG hopes that a public demonstration will not be necessary but is prepared to organise this if the situation does not improve without further delay.