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Motion to ban Gibraltar floating storage fails

25 Jun 2010 09:55 GMT

Madrid votes against motion requesting to force Gibraltar to store fuel on land.



A motion to force Gibraltar to store all its marine fuel on land has failed this week following a vote in the Spanish Parliament.

The country's right-wing party, Partido Popular (PP), called on Madrid to ask the British Government to force Gibraltar to store all its marine fuel on land.

However, the motion failed after the ruling PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) party voted against.

PP representatives claimed the use of vessels to store fuel at sea posed unacceptable pollution risks that also breached legislation in Spanish waters.

PP's José Ignacio Landaluce commented: “Spain and the rest of the European Union have legislation that prohibits the storage of fuel at sea for obvious safety reasons.

“Gibraltar does not have this legislation and, as a result, breaches the rules in Spanish waters in the Bay of Algeciras with the presence of three floating petrol stations,” Landaluce added.

Meanwhile, representatives at the port of Gibraltar pointed out that floating storage tankers and ship-to-ship fuel transfers are not currently banned in Europe as a whole, even though they are prohibited in Spain.

“There is no EU legislation that prohibits the use of floating storage,” said Peter Hall, Captain of the Port of Gibraltar."

The government of Gibraltar has stated publicly on a number of occasions that it wants an end to the use of floating storage in Gibraltar.

As a solution, several commercial operators have expressed an interest in taking over use of the King’s Line military fuel depot inside the Rock.

The site has been left unused for a number of years following the tightening of UK safety standards after an explosion at Total's Buncefield fuel depot near Hemel Hempstead in December 2005.

The King's Line depot would require substantial investment before it could be used again, as would the pipelines connecting the facility to quayside installations at the port.




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