Alarm over Zeebrugge terminal 'zero' security
24 February 2006, BRUSSELS — The Belgian Foreign Ministry has reacted angrily to NATO claims that a lack of security at the Zeebrugge gas terminal makes it vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
24 February 2006
BRUSSELS — The Belgian Foreign Ministry has reacted angrily to NATO claims that a lack of security at the Zeebrugge gas terminal makes it vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
The claim was made by NATO's General Charles Wald, who said at an international conference in Prague on Thursday that important installations for the supply of energy in Western Europe are vulnerable to attack.
He said further that the gas terminal at Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast is the Achilles heel of European energy industry, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Friday.
Wald said 11 percent of gas supplies pass through the Zeebrugge installation and there is "zero" security.
The conference was the first NATO consultation over threats to energy installations. Some 150 experts from 30 nations took part in a forum designed to offer recommendations without making decisions.
But the Belgian Foreign Ministry reacted swiftly and angrily to any assertion implying that Zeebrugge has no security.
"Zeebrugge is included by the International Maritime Organisation on the list of safe harbours and since 11 September 2001, we have kept an eye on international developments to ensure it is also effective security," the Interior Ministry said.
The ministry said the statement over a lack of security was "totally unfounded". It said there are diverse local and federal security plans for the port and the gas terminal.
The federal government's crisis centre — which responds to national emergencies — was also involved in talks over security at Zeebrugge.
Gas network administrator Fluxys said security was tightened after the 11 September attacks and eventually met with US approval in June 2004. After two men illegally entered the terminal in 2005, security was further tightened.
"We are extremely amazed at the comments of the NATO general," a Fluxys spokeswoman said.
She said the gas terminal is secured by fencing, cameras, security officers and identity checks for everyone who enters the terminal, either by land or water.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news