The GSD has accused the Government of attempting to silence the Opposition on the issue of gas bunkering.
As the row over the LNG facility continued yesterday the GSD said that the Government seems not to understand that the discussion had moved on from the simple provision of LNG storage to supply the power station to the reality of offshore, and possibly onshore commercial bunkering.
Trevor Hammond, GSD Environmental spokesman said: “I will certainly not be put off pursuing this matter by Government’s gutter politics. They are not interested in mature debate, only in silencing any enquiry into what they are doing.”
“Despite previous rhetoric, the Government has now made clear that its agreement with Shell includes offshore bunkering as part of the deal, something we had said would be the case all along to make Shell’s interest financially viable.”
“Indeed Mr Bossano made this clear in a debate during the election in which he was quoted as saying ‘that a recent deal with Shell over LNG supply in Gibraltar had only happened because of an intent to supply LNG bunkers, and that any deal to supply the power station only was of little interest to the energy major’”.
“This apparent slip of the tongue was quickly countered by his cabinet colleague, Dr Cortes, who is quoted as saying ‘HMGoG clarified that the LNG facilities currently planned by the government are intended only to supply LNG to a planned power plant facility, and are not intended to serve the bunker industry as they are too small to do so (bunkering) is quite some way away and not part of the power station project.’”
Mr Hammond added: “It seems bunkering was not so far away nor the facilities so small and this must have already been under discussion at the time of that denial being issued. Again, as with matters of the economy and debt, it is to Mr Bossano that we must turn for the truth.”
“The Government is otherwise intent on concealing the truth from people and there is no question now that despite the denial by Dr Cortes, Shell’s interest has always been in bunkering as stated by Mr Bossano.”
“This was always a done deal, there is nothing in the public domain to demonstrate that this activity is acceptably safe and indeed, recent events at sea would demonstrate that the risks are very real.”
Regarding the LNG storage facility, Mr Hammond also said: “We were given a meeting with the Government’s experts, HSL, to discuss the LNG storage facility but not any associated commercial bunkering activity for which no independent safety assessment had been conducted at that time.”
“Even they admitted that within the limited scope that they had been asked to review, they could not give an absolute guarantee that a serious incident could not occur at the LNG storage facility. We were of course not permitted to invite the press to accompany us.”
“The booklet produced by Shell contained no safety information of any value and their presentations at the John Mackintosh Hall were at best simplistic and lacked any technical safety details.”
“The statement issued by the Chief Minister simply demonstrates that Government have no idea what a Risk Assessment or Hazard Analysis looks like as they are yet to produce one and simply point to irrelevancies in an attempt to confuse the public.”