Ria Formosa dredger sinkings – MPs demand answers
The ever vociferous Algarve MP, Cristóvão Norte, has been joined by fellow MP José Carlos Barros in demanding some answers to the build up of sunken dredgers in the Ria Formosa area.
Last week, another huge dredger slipped below the waters in a highly protected area at the Faro-Olhão entrance to the Ria Formosa. This is the second dredger to sink in the Ria Formosa in the past 18 months.
According to the two Social Democratic Party MPs, both dredgers are owned by the same company and, although in January 2018 the Captaincy of Olhão imposed a time limit 96 hours for the removal of the first sunken vessel, this still has not been done nor has any explanation been given as to why a direct instruction has not been followed.
“There are reports of residents and fishermen who at the time indicated the smell of diesel and recorded an increase in fish mortality and contamination,” state the MPs, referring to unconfirmed reports that the dredger had 12,000 litres of fuel in its tanks which has been leaking out.
Cristóvão Norte and José Carlos Barros want the two dredgers to be located and removed, “in order to mitigate the environmental impacts that are obviously recorded on such occasions, taking care of the public patrimony and ensuring compliance with safety rules and safeguarding this natural park area.”
The two MPs are to seek clarification from the Ministry of the Sea and Environment on whether tenders for dredging include any requirement for safety rules to be adhered to, “so that these situations do not happen again,” and what steps actually have been taken to remove the dredger sunk near Armona Island – and for that matter, the one that sunk last week.