The incident that occurred last Friday off the coast of Gibraltar, when a fuel leak from a merchant ship caused a spill that spread through the waters of the Bay of Algeciras, has once again revealed disdain and hostility With which the authorities of the colony -and British- have been focusing since time immemorial their relations with their neighbors in Campo de Gibraltar. Europa On reveals today that the Royal Navy was dedicated to harassing with two of its vessels a Salvamento Mar ship that was trying to stop the spill, a fact that adds to the four hours it took for the person in charge of the Peñón port to report the polluting spill to his counterpart in Algeciras, which prevented both the Maritime Captaincy and the Maritime Rescue from deploying the device to mitigate the expansion of the slick earlier.
The question that arises as a result of these unfortunate episodes is whether they represent the pattern of action that the government of Fabián Picardo has in mind when it refers to the creation of the much vaunted “area of shared prosperity”, formed by the Campo de Gibraltar and Gibraltar. Now it is OK. What was the problem for Gibraltar that Maritime Rescue could place the fuel containment barriers?
It is true, Spain and the United Kingdom dispute the jurisdiction of those waters and it is difficult to agree now, after more than 300 years of confrontation … But was it not more important to stop the spill? Why, instead of putting so much effort into militarily harassing Salvamento Marítimo, did they not dedicate themselves to stopping pollution? What is the use of trying to hide an incident of such seriousness during its first hours, the most important hours, without a doubt, to avoid affecting the environment? Why did Gibraltar, according to the Marpol international convention on maritime pollution, fail to comply with its duty to alert its Spanish neighbors? Is that perhaps the spirit of collaboration promoted by the chief minister?
The clock keeps ticking. The calendar set by the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom indicates that the agreement being negotiated for Gibraltar to have a special fit in the Europe of 27 must be closed in the first half of the year, with an agenda that includes transcendental aspects : border control, equalization of taxation, ending money laundering, the fight against smuggling, environmental protection …
If what it is about is to make a virtue of necessity, that is, to take advantage of Brexit to establish a new framework of relations between both parties and to break down historical barriers to make life easier for citizens who live separated by the Gate , it is evident that the political representatives of one and the other must speak the same language. And act accordingly. Without loyalty, we had better forget about experiments.