El hueco

Del Lloyds List — Emsa defends ‘gap’ in oil spill coverage


By Justin Stares in Brussels – Friday 8 February 2008

THE continuing lack of emergency European Union oil pollution coverage off the Spanish coast is not the result of deliberate policy, the European Maritime Safety Agency said today.

No vessel is stationed off the Galician and Cantabrian coasts because there was no industry response in that area when tenders were called, Emsa said.

The justification followed criticism from Spanish Euro MPs, who asked why the area, which was devastated by the Prestige spill, remained uncovered, despite several tenders and a growing network of standby pollution response ships across the continent.

Spanish MEPs Josu Ortuondo Larrea, said: “Yet again we are faced with the paradox that no anti-pollution vessel is to be stationed in one of the areas most affected by marine pollution in recent years. Namely the Galician and Cantabrian coast, a high-risk area due to the fact that passing international sea-traffic is amongst the heaviest in the world and has seen numerous accidents, of which the Prestige disaster stands out in terms of the scale of its environmental, economic and social impact.”

Mr Larrea’s comment was supported by Ignasi Guardans Cambó. Both men sit with the Liberal group in the Strasbourg parliament.

But James Wood, assistant to the Emsa executive director, said: “There were not any offers from industry in that area, that is why there is no ship stationed there.”

He said that the sea off Galicia will however be covered by a pollution response ship stationed in Brest and another stationed in Portugal.

Emsa, which does not have the budget to buy its own anti-pollution ships, has opted for a system of standby contracts with shipowners. Refitted vessels can trade normally but must be available to the Lisbon-based agency at short notice and must take part in annual training exercises.

While the network of ships is expanding and is this year expected to include the Black Sea, holes in coverage became evident last year when the Spanish government requested Emsa help for a vessel it thought might break up in the Bay of Algeciras.

The closest Emsa vessels was in Malta, but it got stuck in bad weather and took around a week to reach Spain.

Madrid, 28 de enero de 2008
El Consejo de Administración de la Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima, dependiente del Ministerio de Fomento a través de la Dirección General de Marina Mercante, ha aprobado la adjudicación del contrato de fletamento, con opción a compra, de una unidad marítima recogedora y de almacenamiento de hidrocarburos a la empresa Sertosa Norte S.L., por un período de 2 años –prorrogables dos años más- y un importe de 1.931.457 euros.

La barcaza, de nueva construcción y cuya entrada en servicio está prevista para principios de verano, dará respuesta a derrames de hidrocarburos y se utilizará como medio recogedor y de depósito de las sustancias recogidas, con una capacidad de almacenamiento de 3.100 m3. La embarcación incorporará diversos equipos como brazos recogedores, bombas succionadoras de hidrocarburos (skimmers) y barreras de contención. Los tanques dispondrán de un sistema de decantación por gravedad y estarán dotados de calefacción, lo que garantiza la facilidad de descarga de los mismos. Adicionalmente, y para operaciones de aligeramiento de la carga de buques en situación de avería, tendrá una capacidad de recibir hasta 1.500 toneladas en su cubierta, específicamente reforzada para ello.

La nueva unidad tendrá su base habitual en el Puerto de A Coruña, pudiendo ser desplazada a la zona donde fuera necesaria su intervención.

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