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One of the maritime problems that Spain has, certainly not the least, lies in the excessive influence that Ports of the State exerts on the rulers. For politicians, the economic issue and media revenue provided by the ports are decisive when making any maritime-port decision. They also ignore, it seems, that the ports are auxiliary to the ships and that without them, the ports would not exist.
Let’s look at an example, now topical, about the infamous influence of ports on maritime policy. The anchorage of the estuary of Ares was, always, competence and responsibility of the maritime authority of La Coruña, but a few years ago, for the pressure exerted by the port of Ferrol on the grounds that it needed to grow, be more competitive, capture more traffic, finally that rhetoric, needed at least a part of the anchorage of Ares. Ferrol and Puertos del Estado, tangent to the General Directorate of Merchant Marine (DGMM), convinced the positions of the Ministry of Development chaired by Mrs. Ana Pastor. So in October 2012, Fomento published in the BOE the order that modified the spaces and uses of the port of Ferrol, to which were added, as a land service area, about 10. 000 square meters of the municipality of Mugardos and a part of the water sheet of the northern part of the Ares estuary, which became the responsibility of the Ferrol Port Authority. Development also approved that the other part of the anchorage of Ares be incorporated into the service area of the Port Authority of La Coruña.
The maneuver of the port of Ferrol, chaired by José Manuel Vilariño, school teacher and former councilor of the Ferrolano city council, forced the Maritime Captaincy of Ferrol and La Coruña, and Sasemar, to adapt to the new administrative-port distribution.
It was not very difficult to foresee that this distribution of competences could lead to serious problems, whose warning they avoided – those of the Ministry and those of State Ports – bypassing the logical consultation of the National Maritime Authority, that is to say the DGMM. Imagine a ship anchored in the area of Ares competition of the port and the Maritime Captaincy (CM) of La Coruña. That ship, which was pending the CM of La Coruña, garrea, nothing unusual with temporary, and drifts to the area of competition of Ferrol, until embarking. The BLUE STAR without going any further. The problem falls to the Maritime Captaincy of Ferrol, so when they are ready to make a decision, the ship already rests on the stones. Although Sasemar technicians can make operational decisions, such as activating certain resources due to urgency,
The CIAIM will undoubtedly investigate the BLUE STAR incident and hopefully analyze this distribution of the Ares waters and its impact on the misfortune of the embarked chemical. And propose ending that situation. Because if not, we can have another similar accident partly caused by the confusion of responsibilities: that it’s your turn, not that of you… And so on.