Press Release 18th March 2014
Din l-Art Helwa questions why the government has still not published a risk analysis report which relates to the Delimara gas storage tanker to be located in Marsaxlokk Bay. Din l-Art Helwa has requested this report by Umberto Maffezzoli from the authorities, but it has not yet been published. This report was commissioned by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) and finalised in December 2013 but it has not yet been made available to the public.
In view of the fact that the MEPA board hearing on the application for the Delimara gas power station is scheduled for this coming Monday, it is unacceptable that relevant documents bearing weight on the crucial safety aspect of the tanker’s location are still being withheld from the public only days before the hearing.
Din l-Art Helwa strongly feels that the MEPA board should not be convened to take the decision that will allow the massive floating gas storage in Marsaxlokk bay when some of the risk analysis studies have not yet been completed. The board should not grant a permit until all the necessary studies have been carried out and made available to the public.
As the processing of the IPPC environmental permit for the gas power station is already well underway, Din l-Art Helwa also asks why it is not possible to bring both the planning and the environmental permits up to the Mepa board for discussion at the same time. This would ensure that a more informed decision is taken on this major project.
The maritime risk analysis has also not been completed, says Din l-Art Helwa. Furthermore, the organisation questions statements made recently by the Prime Minister that Freeport maritime traffic does not pass through the same bay.
The new operators selected by the government have now commented to the press that LNG tankers move in and out of Tokyo harbour all the time without accidents. This may be the case, says Din l-Art Helwa, however, the organisation maintains this is misleading as Tokyo harbour does not have a floating gas storage facility in an old LNG carrier, as is being proposed for Marsaxlokk. Furthermore, the size of Tokyo harbour is also larger than the whole of Malta.
Din l-Art Helwa asks the authorities to conclude all necessary studies before the Mepa board is convened to take the decision on the location of this LNG tanker and to make the information available to the public as is required by the Aarhus convention governing access to environmental data.