Mayor of La Linea wants next trilateral to be held in La Linea on maritime safety

The mayor of La Linea Juan Carlos Juarez has called for the next round of trilateral talks to take place in La Linea and to feature maritime safety.

The mayor was drawing attention to maritime safety following the collision of two vessels last Sunday.

He says that as a result of the collision a 'great opportunity' opens up on the question of maritime safety and the environment.

Sr Juarez says the collision took place in waters of the strait, stressing the Spanish official line which refuses to recognise that Gibraltar has its own territorial waters.

In such circumstances, political sources consider it is going to be difficult to enter into a fruitful debate on the matters requested, because such a debate would start from the premise of the Spanish government not recognising Gibraltar's waters.

When the collision took place last Sunday, the area opposite the lighthouse - under a mile from Europa Point - was invaded by Spanish vessels and there was also a Spanish helicopter overhead. Spanish media even quoted 'Salvamento Maritimo', which is part of the Spanish 'Ministerio de Fomento', as saying that they were considering the possibility of extracting the fuel from the sinking ship New Flame - which was not in Spanish territorial waters.

Subsequently, the Gibraltar government has shown that it is in charge of the salvage operations.