Avoid­ing dan­ger

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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

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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.

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