Spanish attacks against Gibraltar continue

Call for meeting with Zapatero as claims that Spanish national politicians are involved in 'floating petrol stations' operations

With Spanish attacks against Gibraltar still raging, Spanish ecologists have widened their action by highlighting what they describe as potential risks from the bunkering business. A meeting with Spanish premier Zapatero has been requested, as accusations are made that Gibraltar is a 'pirate port'.

The ecology group verdemar has requested a meeting with Sr Zapatero to alert him about 'one of the most serious problems existing at State level,' said spokesman Antonio Munoz. They want to explain to Zapatero how the 'petrol piracy' business operates in the Gibraltar area.

The Spanish ecology group also claim that there are Spanish national politicians involved in such companies.

According to the ecologists, there are 'many companies' which operate like '21st century pirates,' from 'floating petrol stations'. Munoz pointed his finger at Gibraltar, Algeciras and Ceuta in that order, according to agency reports.

Verdemar has sought to speak to Spanish ministers with responsibilities for such matters, but failing this, have requested a meeting with Zapatero himself.

Verdemar has been taking a lead role in making accusations about the New Flame and claiming that the fuel found on Algeciras beaches originates in the stricken vessel. He has recently labelled Gibraltar of 'ecological terrorism'.

Meanwhile, another Spanish ecology group, Agaden, claimed yesterday that more fuel has emerged in the Algeciras beaches, saying the New Flame situation has been badly handled.

The Spanish foreign minister Sr Moratinos has made reference to the commitment made by chief minister Peter Caruana about those responsible for the damage caused by the oil leak to meet the bill.

With constant accusations being fanned in Spain, Gibraltar is being given a bad name. If you say in Spain that you are from Gibraltar, people think you are a smuggler, are involved in money laundering and now that you are a pirate of the seas.

The Gibraltar government ought to step up its campaign in Spain, answering allegations promptly and regularly to try and salvage Gibraltar's good name.