A New Oil Slick Threatens the Cantabrian Coast and the Local Economy

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  • Ecologistas en Acción has denounced the environmental impact that the spillage of the ship Grande America is causing in the waters of the Bay of Biscay, as well as the scarce effectiveness of the actions carried out so far to contain and mitigate it.
  • The Cantabrian coast is at serious risk due to pollution, a situation that could affect both the maritime and coastal ecosystems themselves, as well as the economic activities that sustain local communities: fishing, seaweed collection, shellfishing, tourism and activities of recreation.

The spill of the Italian ship Grande America is currently scattered at several points north of the Cantabrian coast. It is located a hundred miles from land, with an occupation of about 50 square kilometers according to the latest information. Ecologists in Action has demanded that the authorities, given the characteristics, dimensions and proximity of this spill, take the initiative to consider it with the maximum degree of severity and highest risk condition.

The activation of the Response Plan in its ‘Emergency’ phase, ‘Situation 2’, is justified for the environmental organization, since several autonomous communities and especially vulnerable zones may be affected, which would imply the activation of the National Maritime Response Plan. the pollution of the marine environment. Likewise, local and territorial plans should be activated, and consequently, the State Protection Plan for the Ribera del Mar.

A New Oil Slick Threatens the Cantabrian Coast and the Local Economy

It is very likely that the oil slick reaches the coast either the Cantabrian coast or the French coast. In any case, the images that all people have kept in the retina with spills that stain the coast and its inhabitants black will be repeated.”

The cargo ship Grande America transported at the time of the accident more than 2,000 tons of fuel for its propulsion, some 2,100 vehicles and hundreds of tons of hydrochloric acid, oils, resins, fungicides, and countless toxic and dangerous substances of different nature.

Much of this cargo has been dumped with the fire of the ship and another part is more than 4,000 meters deep, exposed to the continued emission of toxic substances on the aquatic environment, as has already occurred in similar shipwrecks produced in recent times .

A New Oil Slick Threatens the Cantabrian Coast and the Local Economy

The consequences of these discharges are difficult to quantify, but of a significant impact on marine and coastal ecosystems, beyond the catastrophic foreseeable consequences on marine avifauna.

For this reason, Ecologists in Action has requested the opening of investigation files and sanctions that allow, on the one hand, initiate the procedures to mitigate the impacts caused by the spill and, on the other hand, purify the responsibilities that are derived of this this event, both from the environmental and economic point of view.

For Eneko Aierbe, coordinator of the Marine Environment area of ​​Ecologists in Action, “it is essential to restore the environmental values ​​and economic stability of the sectors linked to the marine environment, to its previous state”.

Likewise, the environmental organization has requested that all responsibility be derived from the shipowner company, or from the insurance company that supports it, so that they assume all the economic cost caused by the surveillance, containment, prevention and action arising from the incident. “Even more so if we take into account that information has been published according to which the ship would have presented several deficiencies and infractions in terms of extinguishing fires in the last inspections that had been carried out,” stressed Aierbe.

Ecologists in Action has also demanded that citizens be informed in a truthful and complete manner and that access to information related to this event be facilitated to all interested persons, in the most agile way possible. Information that allows access to data on the evolution of the spill, mapping of vulnerable areas, as well as other issues that are considered relevant.

A New Oil Slick Threatens the Cantabrian Coast and the Local Economy

Ecologists in Action has been denouncing for decades the production and consumption model that underpins current economies, since beyond being a deeply unfair model, it takes unacceptable risks whose consequences it often does not take over. These risks translate into situations such as the current one, with a notable impact on ecosystems and the local economy.

Eneko Aierbe: “It is very likely that the oil slick will reach the coast, either the Cantabrian coast or the French coast. In any case, the images that all people have kept in the retina with spills that stain the coast and its inhabitants black will be repeated. We must act to prevent it. “

 

Source: Ecologistas en Accion