Gibraltar bunkering not illegal, says EU

Spanish complaints in the European Parliament, against Gibraltar's bunkering business in the bay, have been rejected. The European Commission has said that the so-called 'floating petrol stations' are not illegal.
This has caused much disappointment to the Spaniards. Both the ruling PSOE and the opposition PP had been complaining, as well as ecology groups.
The Spaniards had asked the parliament's petitions committee to dispatch a mission to investigate the bunkering activities, whereby ships are supplied with fuel without having to berth alongside.
The chairman of the committee, Marcin Libicki, said the EU executive took the view that the bunkering does not breach European legislation.
Further, the sending of a mission would not be possible as political parties had agreed to stop such a process until after the next European parliamentary elections.
A spokesperson for the Spanish ecology group Verdemar said in a debate that there were risks emanating from the bunkering business.
The charge was that between 10 and 16 petrol tankers are permanently at anchor in the Strait, mainly near Gibraltar, in an area which is used by some 100 tankers daily.
The collision of the New Flame was raised. But the dramatic speech from Verdemar did not impress the chairman who said there was no reason to initiate any sanctions.
Speaking for the PP, a Spanish parliamentarian Luis de Grande said he had visited the area last week and added how useful it would be for a visiting mission, but he was reminded that this was not possible for now. He himself offered to produce a report.
A representative for the Green party also had harsh words about the bunkering situation. He wanted higher monetary sanction in respect of fuel slicks, arguing that there was a lack of controls in the Gibraltar area.



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