POLLUTERS operating in Gibraltar port face stiffer penalties under tough new measures introduced by the government.
Shipping companies could be landed with an unlimited fine as part of the initiative, aimed at offering better protection to the area around the Rock.
The amendments, which apply to the Port Rules and the Gibraltar Merchant Shipping Regulations 2009, also include an increase in custodial sentences.
“Gibraltar’s is a great commercial and leisure port, and the government wants to help ensure that both the port and the waters around Gibraltar are protected as far as possible from environmental damage,” said Tourism Minister Neil Costa.
“We believe that one way we can help ensure this is to introduce dissuasive but proportionate penalties for would-be polluters, in line with other European jurisdictions.”
The move comes after concerns were raised over the environmental impact of ship refuelling – known as bunkering – close to the Rock, after a number of spillages were reported.
Environmentalists have described the practice as a ‘significant environmental and safety risk’ and have called for greater cooperation between the authorities in Gibraltar and Spain.
The government is stepping up its efforts to improve its green credentials after hosting the Thinking Green conference in October, attended by former US Vice-President Al Gore.
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