Delay in berthing of LNG tanker means something is wrong – PN
The delay in the berthing of the LNG tanker at what should be its place in Marsaxlokk Harbour could mean that something is wrong, Nationalist Party executive president and maritime law expert Ann Fenech said yesterday.
Addressing the media in Marsaxlokk, Dr Fenech said it was evident that the vessel had not managed to anchor to the storm mooring system that Electrogas has spoken of. The Armada LNG Mediterrana has been in and out of port at least three times in the last eight days.
Asked to elaborate on her claims, Dr Fenech said only Electrogas knew what the problem was. The PN is basing its claims on the apparent delay and the fact that it makes no commercial sense to keep the vessel out at sea. “This vessel is presumably being chartered, for thousands of euro a day, to Electrogas. From a commercial perspective it makes sense to put the vessel into operation as soon as possible. The fact that is has still not been berthed permanently means that someone somewhere is unhappy with something.”
The PN president also spoke about the public consultation on the studies related to the project, which will start today (See pg 7). “Public consultation should have been held before the whole project started, not after it was completed.” This was “an insult” to the Seveso directive, she said, which said public consultation should be held well in advance.
The public now expects the following studies to be published: The Maritime Impact Assessment, the Risk Analysis reports, emergency plans and the Major Accident Prevention Policy. “People need to know what the risks are and if the vessel can stay alongside the power station during a storm.”
Dr Fenech said it would be premature to state how the PN would react if the studies were satisfactory.
PN spokesman on planning Ryan Callus said the Planning Authority last week announced that the public consultation exercise was open and gave a link to the supposed studies. However, no studies were made available on the PA website and the authority yesterday said that public consultation will start today. This was nothing but damage control.
Shadow Minister for Energy Marthese Portelli said people and the social partners were disappointed that the government did not reduce energy tariffs. She said the government had managed to reduce tariffs thanks to the BWSC plant, the interconnector and cheaper international prices. The government, she said, should have announced another decrease.
Dr Portelli said the PN is promising cheaper utility rates because it will buy energy from the cheapest source rather than the one chosen by the Prime Minister.
Photo: Jonathan Borg