Chief Minister Fabian Picardo yesterday highlighted the crucial role of the Port of Gibraltar to the Rock’s economy as he formally inaugurated the Gibraltar Port Authority’s new offices on Windmill Hill.
The building includes a control room for the port’s new vessel traffic services [VTS] system complete with a privileged view overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, one of the world’s key maritime chokepoints through which 100,000 vessels sail each year.
The upgraded high-tech VTS system was installed by Kongsberg Norcontrol and offers the latest technology available, vastly improving the GPA’s monitoring capability of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).
The new building also offers a vantage point from which controllers can visually monitor all approaches into British waters.
Mr Picardo spoke of the importance of maritime trade to Gibraltar’s economy, with some 10,000 ships calling at the port each year for fuel and other services including tourism.
With Brexit on the horizon, the port would continue to play a vital part of Gibraltar’s future development.
“It’s impossible to do anything these days without thinking of the fact that we’re leaving the European Union,” he said.
“And when you think of Gibraltar’s success, only for the last 46 years have we been part of the EU.”
“For many centuries before that we were able to trade affectively, even when we were subject to siege, in great measure because of our port.”
The inauguration was also attended by the Minister with responsibility for the Port, Gilbert Licudi, as well as various other dignitaries and guests.
Pic by Johnny Bugeja