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  • Radio Newsletter 11.03.21

    Keywords: Oil Spill / Climate Change and Public Debates

    ESG Radio Newsletter 11th March 2021  – With Spring now apparent, signs are with us that the grip of the Covid virus is thankfully diminishing. Thanks to those giving their all in helping make this happen.

    On the environmental front things have certainly built up. The recent oil spill was a sharp interlude in Covid headlines as Gibraltar’s coastline began to see evidence of a bunkering transaction that had gone wrong, albeit for a few minutes, with supposedly a few tons spilt. Sounds more serious than litres, doesn’t it? Oil is a very toxic substance to the natural environment and the authorities, agencies and NGOs maintained a very close eye on the spill and clean up proceedings made harder by the nature of our artificial coastline that was mostly affected within the harbour.

    Back in October 2008 the ESG were involved in the follow up to the larger FEDRA oil spill. Then, 170 tons of the ships own running fuel, leaked into our beautiful waters after it had slammed repeatedly into Europa Point cliffs during a major storm. That oil spill took around 3 months to clean up, several million pounds worth of costs and saw the start of a major technological and resource overhaul of the Port Authority and its operations.

    This serious upgrade in our Port management stds has clearly brought about a safer overall environment from the shipping activity in our port. Nevertheless, the spill happened and its smelly and sticky presence now all but removed from our shores, although the clean up continues. We welcome the fines and cost recovery for the clean up operation but think it’s also critical to understand what took place in the immediate aftermath of the spill. What oversight was in place by both the client and supplier vessel and what emergency protocols were applied? Press reports suggest a time lag, which has not yet been fully explained. During this time the oil moved about and hit land at various points. We would like to see the results of the full investigation into the spill and the emergency response to better understand what transpired and whether lessons will have been learnt.

    According to marine experts less visible impacts from this spill will continue to impact negatively on our marine environment for some time to come and believe all efforts must be made to eliminate future threats. 

    Climate Change is once again making headlines with major climate conferences round the corner. The ESG recently issued a press release calling upon our Government to set out its own clear strategy on reducing our Carbon activity. We understand the major toll from Covid on all resources but believe Climate Change is a far larger threat, on which targeted action cannot be postponed any longer. We would also like to see public debate and support on this major issue to ensure that economic recovery from Covid works hand in hand with a green agenda, led by Government policy, and supported at cross party level. Once Covid allows for larger gatherings the ESG looks forward to resuming our own public debates on these issues. Visit esg-gib.net for more on other issues, press releases etc. Thanks for listening.