Andalusian 'Junta' doing everything possible to initiate legal action against Gibraltar

The Andalusian regional government, the 'Junta', said Wednesday that it is doing everything possible to initiate legal proceedings against the Gibraltar government, following fuel oil that has reached Spanish beaches in Algeciras, across the bay. Spanish ecologists have accused the Gibraltar government of 'ecological terrorism', but the Gibraltar government says the stricken cargo vessel New Flame sank in August.
It was on 12 August that the New Flame, with a cargo of scrap, collided in the Gibraltar area with another ship, and went aground off Europa Point, Gibraltar.
With the forward section of the cargo vessel already underwater, the Gibraltar government says that the possibility continues to exist that the stern of the vessel will also sink.
Salvage experts have been advising the Gibraltar government "that there is no risk of material pollution', since the vessel is defuelled and only small, remnant amounts of fuel remain in the engines themselves.
But Gaspar Zarrias of the 'Junta' said today that 144 tons of fuel mixed with sand, have been collected from the Algeciras beaches of El Rinconcillo and Getares. The New Flame is being blamed.
As a result the 'Junta' plans to take legal action against Gibraltar, accusing the Gibraltar authorities of not solving the problem or allowing the Spanish authorities to do so. Had the problem depended on them, the 'Junta' says this would have long ceased to be a problem and the New Flame would no longer be aground in the bay.
Antonio Munoz of the Verdemar ecology group says the 42,000 tons of scrap could contaminate the Spanish coasts and even as far as the North African coast. He had earlier accused the Gibraltar government of 'ecological terrorism', foreseeing "a terrible environmental impact" in the not too distant future.
However, the last communique from the office of the Chief Minister Peter Caruana was that "the Spanish authorities have been kept informed throughout."




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