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  • No to Eastside Bunkering – ESG Statement

    ESG Opposed to East Side Bunkering 27th May 2011

    In October 2010, the ESG, along with several other stakeholders, were consulted by EIA scientists1 commissioned by the Port of Gibraltar on behalf of Govt, to hear concerns over the proposed expansion of bunkering activity to the East Side of Gibraltar. The ESG has publicly campaigned for GoG to address existing environmental and health concerns from existing bunkering activity on the western flank of the Rock and therefore sees further expansion as a totally backward step – One that we shall campaign against as we have done on other issues that threaten our health and living environment2. Specifically our key concerns are summarised as follows-

     ESG very concerned that both the Port and GoG have already stated support for east Side Bunkering, even stating the conditions under which this will take place, BEFORE an EIA has even been completed!

     ESG receives reports/complaints throughout the year and especially during warmer months from residents complaining about the intolerable level of fumes in their neighbourhood linked to bunkering activity (wind direction and increased volatility of fuel vapours). Given the 24hr nature of the bunkering activity this problem affects people also on a 24hr basis;

     Existing bunkering activity already affects people’s quality of life, air quality and marine environment; new activity on the East Side will increase this air pollution locally as we shall get the fumes no matter the wind direction;

     ESG has long campaigned for improvements to the Ports “reporting protocol/procedure” as this continues to be inadequate to follow up and investigate sources of pollution from bunkering activity. (New number to call 56001652 – IMPORTANT – Call during the polluting episode);

     ESG has lobbied both the Port and Ministry for vapour recovery technology to be applied to bunkering to stop fugitive fumes from affecting our community;

     ESG has campaigned locally and at cross border level for port co-operation, improved tracking technology and monitoring and for limits to be imposed in our ever increasingly congested Bay;

     ESG and GONHS form part of a cross border NGO group which lobbies the Tripartite Forum on regional environmental issues which includes bunkering activity in Gibraltar (from floating mother ships etc.)

     VTS technology (vessel tracking systems) was installed at the Port to prevent further collisions at sea which were on the increase off the Rock and was long overdue to safeguard existing practice and allow the Port to safely carry out its responsibilities; It’s clear that while VTS can monitor with impressive precision it cannot stop all accidents from happening as was recently seen when two barges collided;

     Authoritative studies3 carried out on Bay sedimentary contamination highlights how chemical pollution from industrial discharge and chronic minor spillages from fuel transfers within the Bay highlight the need to manage all harmful activity – not expand this;

     ESG also concerned about water quality for bathing and marine life reasons;

     Concerned about protecting and conserving local biodiversity – already under growing pressure from maritime activity/reclamation/anchorage impact/dredging/ever present threat of major oil spill;

     East Side provides a calmer and more natural environment for the community to enjoy and should be preserved;

     Full disclosure of the real economic benefits to the local purse from bunkering activity must be published, building in the potential loss in tourism from increased industrialisation of Gibraltar and the priceless factor of quality of life for ourselves and our families if immediate economic profits are to always take precedence over quality of life;
    Contact ESG: www.esg-gib.net Email: esg@gibtelecom.net Tel: 200-48996 Mobile: 54960000
    1 Gifford’s
    2 www.esg-gib.net
    3 Greenpeace Study posted on ESG website-resources-documents