In just a few days, or even hours, the gas tanker is due to enter the Marsaxlokk harbour.
There has been a very ominous build-up to this entry – one even saw animated videos portraying the consequences of a blow-out on the tanker and specifying which villages will it flatten.
Anything that is novel usually attracts this kind of fear-mongering. Plus, of course, politically-motivated spin.
Actually, we handle many kinds of danger on an everyday basis but usually think nothing of it.
For instance, the Marsaxlokk harbour with its Freeport lies directly under the flight path of planes approaching the airport. If, by some very remote chance, a tanker blows up while a plane is right above it, no amount of insurance money would suffice.
It is said that there was no insurance ready to take up this burden and Cabinet decided that
Malta, as a State, would stand surety.
Perhaps the best proof that even the government is worried by the advent of the tanker was the hurried, late-night press release by the government to tell us that the government’s real aim is to have a pipeline from Sicily to Malta for the provision of gas to the power station.
Now that, from conception stage to implementation, will take years.
The company itself has stated it is taking all precautions to avoid any sort of accident especially in the event of storms which may hit the tanker’s location quite badly.
For many reasons the gas-fired power station will not begin functioning immediately so that gives the corporation and all involved some breathing time to iron out any eventual hiccups.
Even if both Marsaxlokk and Birżebbuġa are Labour-run, their councils will, and should be, vigilant to ensure safety for their residents.
Here too, the government has been less than open with the people – questions have not been answered, contracts have not been published and the government many times replies to perfectly legitimate questions with bluster.
Then too, this is all unnecessary. Had it not been for the Labour’s false accusations that the BWSC plant was a ‘cancer factory’, which it is not, we would not have needed to sell and dismantle a perfectly valid and safe power station and replace it with the present one. And as for security of provision, the interconnector from Sicily would have been adequate to our requirements.
We are running this risk, for risk it remains, because of a baseless claim and spin and because government could not turn around and tell us the BWSC plant was not a cancer factory.