Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Emergencies in Gibraltar, Can we Handle them Alone?

I do not know the answer to that question or all the other questions that the incident today on the North Mole raises. Before I pose them, let us be thankful that there have been no fatalities and that few people have been injured. I wish those who have been injured, especially the Spanish national who is seriously injured,  a speedy recovery. I wish all the best to those who are risking themselves to bring the emergency under control. I pray, hope and trust that no one  else will be hurt in the process.

One question that this incident raises is, is Gibraltar sufficiently resourced to deal with large emergencies? It seems, following today's incident that it is not. Reliance has had to be placed on Spanish assets and assistance to bring the situation under control.

A second question is, can Gibraltar aspire to be sufficiently resourced or does its small size impose limitations on its ability to do so? It seems to me that our small size has some bearing on the availability of equipment and resources.

A third question is, if reliance is to be placed on Spain and its resources, are there cooperation agreements in place or does it just happen on an ad hoc basis?

A fourth question, is if formal arrangements to cooperate are needed, will they bring with them any political repercussions?

A fifth question is, what, if any, are the political implications of what has already happened today?

I am sure over the next few days, weeks and months, these and many more questions will need to be answered.  There is one more question that I have in my mind and worries me tremendously, what if there were to be major incident with a large number of seriously and not so seriously injured? Is our hospital and are our general medical services up to it and appropriately equipped? Are there reciprocal and formal arrangements with Spain in place? Everything is fine whilst nothing happens but the acid test is when something does actually go wrong.


  1. RV - LLW such agreements with Spain are unofficial. Spanish authorities - at a local level -readily contact our Emergency Services DIRECTLY when a major incident occurs to offer assistence as required. Likewise our EMERGECY Services do same, but after being given the greenlight.

    I think that when incidents such as these occur where lives are at risk, politics are immediately brushed away by heads of Emergency Services on both sides otf the border, as they should be. Nothing is more important or valuable than human life.

    That said, it would be brilliant if these "unofficial arrangements" were made official - again, Politics aside, and as part and parcel of being human beings, and not as part of "negotiation-like" Cordoba Agreements or similar.

  2. Having been a participant in practice/real incidents I can assure you Gibraltar is not equipped for a major incident.

    None of the services will readily admit this but its a fact.

    The whole of the emergency services are running on shoestring budgets, excluding the police. Hence the lack of equipment, trainning ,vehicles, etc.

    Gibraltar has also lost the services of the MOD ambulance reducing the compliment of local ambulances??

  3. perhaps not the right time, but should we start making note of the fact that the two injured welders are spanish. One wonders if the company they work for is also spanish and, if so, should our authorities have to bring charges against it for negligence, etc, how exactly would they do this.

    The thought alone opens a whole new can of worms!

  4. This whole episode once again brings me to issue of mediocrity.

    I also wonder whether the welders (and here I am am assuming that the fire may have been attributable to this) were following proper British standards of health and safety procedures or whether this was one moments when correct procedures are flouted in the name of expediency.

    We (and I include myself)harp on about how good and prepared we are!

    Yet the phrase..."elephants on parade" rings in my ear when I hear our so called experts and politicians calming us down with inconsequential diatribe.

  5. Spain, Andalucia, and our "friendly" Spanish neighbours (Algeciras and La linea mayors) are going to have a field day with us. Not to mention our own green advocate Ms.H, who is probably seen her lifetime's work on the environment undone by an insignificant spark.

  6. You ask whether we can handle it?

    The fire is still raging and there is no sign of it abating. I guess we'll all go to bed tonight, cover our heads with our pillows and hope to see everything resolved by tomorrow morning.

    If not....

  7. RV,

    You pose legitimate questions but I fear that some of them may be to politically loaded and would require a local cross party agreement to even begin to approach the Spanish authorities with agreements to seek local cooperation of some sort.

    If this is not done, any government's proposal to the spanish will always be seen as a point of weakness by opposing parties and hence the same old story.....

  8. Anonymous at 23:39

    I agree with you fully. That is one reason for posing them. Reforms of the electoral and parliamentary system could help to get the required consensus?

  9. Political repercussions you ask??

    Algeciras and la Linea mayors are just going to think that Christmas has come early for them!!
    Let's get our flak jackets ready 'coz the bullets will be coming from all directions.


    Oh! and I can just envisage three hour queues tomorrow or sometime this week!!

  10. Try to highlight to senior management that we are under resourced and you get reprimanded or accused of being a trouble maker.

    The fact is we are in need of moden equipment and training. This goes for all emergency services.

    If we expect to build local infrastructure to attract more ships, planes etc etc. We need to fulfill our duty of providing adequate emergency cover.

    We also need to improve the simulation of major incidents Going through the motions as has been done in the past when simulating air disasters in order to rubber stamp the airfield is not good enough.

    These airfield exercises performed over numerous years always tended to highlight identical problematic issues (ie comms, resources, incompatibility between MOD and local emergency services etc etc) demonstrating that either we are not learning from these simulations and or its just an exercise done annually in order to renew the airfield license.

    In other words form a participant in these exercises it appears nobody gives a shit so long as it looks good on paper.

  11. I think stuff like this fire where fortunately only a couple of people have been hurt hurt (and not killed) is particularly worrying because of what it suggests about our level of readiness and our ability to deal with any given form of disaster. I don't mean to make this an issue about whether the GSD/GSLP/PDP would handle this problem better, I'm just concerned that it seems that at this moment in time we simply wouldn't be able to properly cope with a (heaven forbid) more serious incident.

  12. This fire has been on going for NINE HOURS.

    Five hours ago we were told by the chief C3 it was under control!!

    Yeah right!!

    C3 a committee of individuals sat round a table with but do they have a clue of such matters?

    Looks and sounds good though!!!

    I do however feel sorry for the guys at ground level though, its evident from the TV they are trying their best.

  13. Today I was incessantly hounded by a number of online bloggers on FB for stating the following:

    "PETER CARUANA says.,,"it's quite a serious incident and the fire is not yet under control, but no need for concern"...Gold star for you!! lololol

    The comment was meant in jest as it is not every day you get to hear the CM contradict himself in the very same sentence.

    The wife of a potential GSD candidate was one of the main instigators shortly followed by others (some relatives of the CM himself).

    Incidentally I was quite shocked to see non GSD supporters jumping on the Anti-K bandwagon, it was then and there that I realised how truly fickle the masses can be. And alike the piped pier playing his tune the others soon followed.

    What really gets to me though is the fact that other more implicit comments were made (by one GSD supporter in particular) regarding the matter with no similar repercussions.

    It very much seems like these people will now stoop down to all time lows in order to ensure that freedom of speech and expression is impeded.

    They even requested that I remove my posting, which I did not as a matter of principle.

    I will not stand for people taking my comments completely out of context and spinning them for their own personal purposes.

    No wonder people post anonymously, it just a way to avoid being targeted in such a blatant manner! Even comments made in jest are perceived to be a threat these days!! CUIDADIN!! Desperate times indeed for the GSD faithful!

    Ps- No wonder Mark Ashbey did a runner.....


  14. If the USA could not handle Katrina, nor Japan Fukishima, 2 of the 3 largest economies in the world, how could little Gib ever be resourced for a disaster. Also we should not be ashamed of Spain's help thats what neighbors do, we have helped them.

    On a more synical/topical note who would object to a highly experienced expat being employed to sort out the situation?(i do not know how good/bad a job ppl there are doing now, im sure they are trying their best)

  15. K, where is evidence of this hounding, or should we just take your word for it?

  16. Required Precautions:

    For any hot work such as welding or cutting on a container that may have contained flammable or combustible material, the following minimum precautions must be taken:

    The container's internal layout must be determined to make sure that fittings such as baffles will not interfere with cleaning or purging.
    The container must be drained and cleaned using appropriate methods.
    To determine whether draining and cleaning has made the container safe, its interior must be tested with a combustible gas detector both before hot work begins and periodically during the work.

    However, some containers cannot be drained and cleaned well enough to make them safe. Such containers may be made safe by purging and inerting with an inert gas, but only if these precautions are taken:

    Recognized procedures and proper equipment must be used.
    The oxygen level inside the container must be monitored with an oxygen analyser and maintained at essentially zero for the duration of the work.
    Workers must be made aware of the limitations of the inerting process.

    Never assume a container is clean or safe. Make sure that it is made safe and that its safety is verified by testing before any hot work begins. Not following this rule is likely to kill you!

    The Regulations for Industrial Establishments (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 78) require that where repairs or alterations are to be made on a drum, tank, pipeline or other container, it must be drained and cleaned or otherwise made free from any explosive, flammable or harmful substance.

  17. Gibraltar politics group on Facebook, which Robert happens to be a member of :)


  18. Welding ontop of a fully filled tank?

    Read precautions of welding tanks?

  19. yeah why not DDM, let's compare a hurricane/flooded major city and an eathquake/tsunami/nuclear plant meltdown to a burning oil-tank!

    I suggest you google the articles the Spanish press will be hitting us with tomorrow, before you call them neighbours, you'll be a tad surprised!

  20. Joe Bishop's interview this morning on GBC radio was enlightening to say the least, and goes a long way in answering why he doesn't form part of the C3. I doubt he would have sat in a corner and allowed the non-experts to make all the decisions

  21. Perhaps the investigations of this incident will highlight the work ethics of the worker in question.
    Is he registered to work in Gibraltar, paying tax, etc? or does he hail from a Spanish company that enters Gibraltar, carries out a job and leaves.
    Were health and safety officers involved at any point?
    For security reasons, local anglers are not allowed to fish in the port when there is a cruise liner in port, how is it that a welder was allowed to weld on a silage tank, right next to one yesterday?
    Many questions need to be answered but will we get the answers, or will we get a brush-off from the relevant ministers, trying to convince us everything was carried out as it should.

  22. Everything is relative 01:04. Whereas it is obvious Gibraltar couldn’t handle Katrina or Fukishima, I would like to think that it could have the capacity to deal with similar events of this nature in a more expedient and efficient manner.

    Thankfully the fire was relatively isolated and no damage was caused to any other part of Gibraltar, but what if there was a (again, heaven forbid) terrorist attack of some kind within Gibraltar? From what I saw yesterday it seems we would be very hard pressed to cope with another similar incident of this nature taking place in more populated areas where they could present a greater danger to the public as a whole.

    Again, my intention is not to make it a party issue (i.e. whether the GSD, GSLP,PDP would prepare for it more adequately than another party), its simply that at this moment in time I am concerned that we aren’t prepared for such a potential catastrophe.

  23. I am Cucumber bear and I have the following to say:~

    I am very sorry to learn of two Spanish welders getting hurt, one of them very seriously.

    However, the explosion of the tank could have been much worse.

    Fortunately the top of the tank blew off as if it were a lid instead of the sides rupturing.

    If this had been the case the wharf would have been engulfed by thousands of gallons of burning fuel sweeping before it people cars and other assets and placing the ship berthed alongside in very serious danger.

    In a fire situation of this sort (as in any fire) there are three components, being heat, fuel and oxygen.

    To effectively stop combustion and put out the fire permanently, effectively and quickly one of the components would have to be removed from the equation.

    In my view, the fire services have been doing what they can, cooling the other tanks to prevent a domino effect (reducing heat).

    But that on its own is not enough of course.

    A fuel fire is most effectively dealt with using foam or by removing oxygen.

    The removal ov oxygen in this case is not feasable as the area exposed on top is huge.

    The only other alternatives left are to allow the fire to burn itself out under controlled conditions or the application of foam.

    I calculate the cubic volume of foam to be huge.

    If the tank has a diameter of 100 feet, lets say then to put 1 foot of foam on the surface of the oil would involve dispensing 3142 cubic feet of foam, which at a guess is the equivalent of 2500 fire extinguishers.

    I am sure there are nothing like tat number on the rock, nor is there means of piping foam under pressure by hosing.

    The magnitude of the problem becomes clear when you adopt an informed perspective rather than guesswork.

    From the CM's comments, it is clear that the Govt is involved in crystal ball gazing once again, busy with guesswork.

    In the foture measures ought to be taken to have foam in large quantities available in the event of emergencies such as this one being repeated.

  24. I too heard Joe Bishop this morning on GBC. Estava ke ardia mas que el fuego aller!

  25. I am Cucumberbear, here I am again...

    The c3 committee ought not to have the CM as chairman. The comimitte should be comprised of individuals with knowledge and expertise.

    The CM does has neither in matters of this type of emergency.

    In fact, from his comments, it is clear to me that what he knows about it can be written on the back of one of the bus tickets we are now handed on every bus journey, and there would still be a lot of space left.

    He ought to do the proper thing, and be humble for a change and pay attention to those better informed than he is and delegate responsibility to them, instead of hogging the centre stage as he habitually does over everything.

  26. Tip on how to improve LW :

    do not post Kaelan's comments!!

  27. Yes do not post my comments, to hell with Freedom of Speech/expression and all of that.......

    Should Joe Bishop also be muzzled?


  28. I am really shocked at how many people are making something of the fact that the welder was Spanish. It's just racism pure and simple - equally detestable when it is Gib to Spain as Spain to Gib.

    Hopefully the cause of this accident will become clear in due course and I doubt that nationality of those involved will be a factor AT ALL, let alone a significant one. Why do we have this lingering perception in Gib that Spain and Spanish standards are somehow backwards? Gibraltar would be a better place if we opened our eyes, stopped slapping ourselves on the back about all manner of things, and looked around at what is happening. – even in our immediate vicinity.

    For me there is only ONE key question that I would like answered and it is one that I think can be answered quickly as it is pretty simple, and people who were on the ground will know the answer. Was the decision on when to call in the Spanish tugs taken by a politician or by our experts?

  29. Re Post by Anon 8.56

    Are you serious. Just because the worker was Spanish you question his work ethics, whether he pays tax and is registered. No sympathy for the poor chap I see. No questioning the owner of the container or his/its responsibilities. No just slag off the poor worker who has extremely serious burns which presumably are life threatening. If the worker had been Gibraltarian, I wonder if you would have posted in the same terms.


  30. Anon 12:22, is your comment indicative of a healthy democracy? Simply debate or ignore his points at your leisure. The Facebook politics group nicely demonstrates that one has to on occasion put up with tedious antagonistic remarks and rude criticism in order to get to substantive debate. It’s sad that forum of discussion is curtailed by the “fear” imposed by the presence and disdainful attitude of a few of its more prominent members. Without being too critical, an even handed moderator with more free time in which to carry out their duties would be able to nip the vast majority of unconstructive arguments (from all sides) in the bud in the interest of propagating quality debate. To be fair to the current moderator he has set out rules in line with the above, but he could in my opinion be stricter with enforcing and deleting them accordingly when they slip through the net (it's more than understandable that they aren't removed immediately, we all have lives outside of political discussion).

    As it stands, many are going to continue being more comfortable hiding behind the cloak of anonymity provided by Llanitoworld.

    The Disgruntled Friar

  31. I must agree that criticism on the grounds of nationality is just disgraceful. It really underscores what is the worst face of bigotry against Spain and Spanish nationals in Gibraltar. Then we in Gibraltar complain about how the Spanish press treat us ... perhaps people should think a bit more objectively and not be led by their prejudices.

    I wanted to post this earlier but wanted to wait for the reaction of others.

  32. To mention that the workers were Spanish is not bigotry nor racist. As far as I know it’s a fact. They could have been Portuguese, Italian or from Timbuktoo. The fact of the matter is that if Health and Safety rules exist and proper procedures exist I would expect these to be clearly spelt out in English.

    If these workers had acted professionally and not neglected to acquaint themselves with these proper standards then this might never have happened.

    If however they were allowed to carry out this work then further responsibilities should be sought from the company itself.

    It is easy to blame but the responsibility has a far wider scope and it is those responsible that should be held to account as well.

  33. To start off with let me just say that the blazing fire we all witnessed was certainly not the CM’s fault and would also equally not have been averted if any other person were in that position.

    Accidents do happen, but I am a firm believer that these occur less often when stringent rules and procedures are followed. Clearly this was not the case this time round. Perhaps these rules are set out in the English language and not “en Castellano” which may have been more appropriate given the nationality of the workers. Maybe, and I’m just guessing here, Spanish rules are different when it comes to welding in highly explosive areas!

  34. I think conclusions are being arrived at that need to await the outcome of investigations and due process.

    Attributing blame on grounds of nationality is not right that is all that was being pointed out. I believe one needs to wait before arriving at conclusions.

  35. Chaps - seriously criticising the Spaniards for their safety standards?

    Let’s not forget who is running the "biggest bunkering port in the western med" but don't have enough foam / tugs / "assets" (as everyone is now calling them) to put out a cub scout campfire. WE had to rely on the container port next door to sort out our mess.

    Clearly our monitoring authorities have got something to answer for. If the big boys are going to make millions selling oil meters away from houses and schools, let them at least pay for the kit to put out a fire when it starts – and while they’re at it they can pay for technology to stop bunkering fumes as well.

    That tall bloke said it best when he said we had had a lucky escape. Lucky indeed. Imagine a bunker barge caught fire.

  36. I posted before questioning the welder's work ethics and referred to his nationality, but my concern is not based on the fact that he is spanish, but rather that BECAUSE he is spanish, I wondered whether he works for a local company in Gibraltar, and is registered for tax, etc or he is yet another spanish worker who works for a spanish company hired by a local company for a particular job.
    This worker can come into Gibraltar, carry out whatever duties and then go home. At no point is the company he works for questioned in any way by the local authorities, nor does the ETB get to carry out a check on it to ensure they are duly certified and qualified to carry out the job.
    That is what my post is all about, because ultimately, this fire will have cost the tax payer an enormous amount of money (all that foam is not exactly 3 for 2 in Leeroy Merlin) and perhaps neither the company nor the worker were fit to carry out the duties he was doing yesterday.
    His nationality only increases the chances that the company he works for is not locally based, that is all.
    This incident highlights the fact that there are many, many workers who come in throught the frontier every day, carry out a job and leave. From kitchen fitters to tilers, etc in private homes, to perhaps welders on silage tanks in the Port.
    Who is going to be made responsible for him now, if this is the case?
    anon @ 22:57 last night made the point that perhaps the company he works for may need to be investigated. Had somebody died yesterday, a local company and its directors could be sued for corporate manslaughter. How are we going to do this if the company isn't even registered here, and nobody is made liable.

    Oh, and please don't quote EU law at me, because it would be a very cold day in hell before the Spanish Authorities went after one of their own companies for negligence in Gibraltar!

  37. Anon at 8.56 said "Perhaps the investigations of this incident will highlight the work ethics of the worker in question. Is he registered to work in Gibraltar, paying tax, etc? or does he hail from a Spanish company that enters Gibraltar, carries out a job and leaves" He said that when it had been public knowledge for hours that the poor chap seriously burnt is a Spanish national.

    As RV rightly says only an investigation will reveal the circumstances and responsibilities of the owners of the container and the entity carrying out the work. To post in such terms whilst the mans injuries were known to be so serious and possibly life threatening is an absolute bloody disgrace and I continue to doubt that he would have posted the comment had it been publicly known that the victim was Gibraltarian.

    Surely our first concern is that he recovers, but there is not one single post here hoping, first and foremost, that he will be ok!

  38. Why bring in a highly experienced expat to be employed to sort out the situation? When Joe Bishop who's local is considered amongst the top international Emergency Management Experts working for the UN and the European Commission.

  39. The safety regulations at the Buncefield fuel depot in Hertfordshire were set in English and presumably to be adhered to by operatives that understood the language and yet the most serious fuel explosion ever in Europe was set off by accident. The emphasis is on, of course, by accident.

  40. Muzzling Joe Bishop!!!!! anyone who knows Joe like I do will tell you that he is very much his own man, a very strong character, does not suffer fools gladly, he's a top professional in his field and stands for no nonsense, Joe is no establishment poodle, hence the reason why our Peter keeps him at bay..........

  41. Anonymous said...What is now needed and we should all be calling out for IS A FULL PUBLIC INQUIRY to find out all the FACTS behind this extremely serious incident!
    We cannot afford another incident like this!
    Next time we might not be so LUCKY!

    1 June 2011 20:39

  42. Defies belief that there have been many PRs today in relation to the fire, but none from the GHA or medical authorities!

    Menos mal que esta la mushasha de Hewitt que seguro mantendra el tema candente....pero shame on the Authorities on not having Released any Medical / Health related release! When do they plan to do so....next week?

    I have just been watching Newswatch and I am disgusted that you have not put the brilliant interview with Joe Bishop that I Heard at Lunchtime in Radio Gibraltar!!
    An Aggrieved TAXPAYER

  44. To Anon 01:04 you said "the USA could not handle Katrina, nor Japan Fukishima, 2 of the 3 largest economies in the world, how could little Gib ever be resourced for a disaster". According to Caruana we the the 4th best economy in the world so we are expected to be able to deal with these situations!!
    We have had a number of posts that come from the emergency services personal and yet we are ignoring them. They seem to be desperately telling us that we are under resourced and we are arguing other non relevant issues.
    The fact is that this government has increased the activities in the port but not increased the resources for an emergency. Now this government is intending to have bunkering on the east side of the rock. As an environmentalist I think that this will only put us in a precarious situation and very under resourced emergency services.
    I believe that we need to have an emphasis on us the citizens and not just look after a few rich families who are the beneficiaries of these activities. Bunkering only employ a few from gibraltar, they do not pay a lot of tax and to boot they do not seem to abide by Laws or the laws are not tough enough to protect the citizenship.
    It risks our firemen, police men and women and all others. It risks our tourism industry such as cruise liners coming here.
    And what is more important it risks the lives of the citizenship and people like the poor man who was at the top of tank FULL of diesel and health and safety flouted.

  45. Dear RV,

    How about another topic....I am thirsting for another of your spouts..

  46. Topic:
    *Are our territorial waters now under Spanish control?
    *Has the EU finally abandoned us?
    *Is British diplomacy on the wane?
    *Why oh why can't they just leave us live in peace????

  47. Looking through all the comments, I see Joe Bishop's name keeps coming up. His interview on GBC yesterday morning showed he knew what he was going on about and not simply regurgitating what he had been told to say by someone else.

    Why does the CM keep him at bay? He did stand for election with the Labour Party so he is from the right side of the competition.He also has the knowledge and international standing others can only aspire to.

    So why are we ignoring him?

  48. Oh Dear Robert you are upsetting another of your cousins. Look what Mrs Isabella Sheppard Capuro posted about this blog:

    "It is appalling how Anon posters can get away with the most outrageous and slanderous rantings against individuals without any legal comeback. In effect anyone can invent any venemous diatribe they like and post it as is the case in Llanito World"!!!

  49. Joe Bishop and many others like him will never warm to the Government or to Caruana's side - simple because he knows what he's talking about and has a proven track record, he probably doesn't bow to external pressures, something that does not happen at all in the many government agency committees. this is why so many things are not how they should be - take drug alcohol abuse and smoking where more youngsters are getting hooked on these drugs than ever before.
    Talking about joke -where are the health and safety people - in the UK for instance H&S would have had a major and independent part to play in the oil tank incident?

  50. 1 june 2011 16:56, I am Cucumberbear and I am here again.... The Government wastes millions on providing toys for proleteriat distraction, shubberry and bushery to beautify, toilets that cost fortunes, bus shelters the same, projects that are ill concieved, impulsive and ill thought out with the same faults as the previous, endless sandcastles on the Eastern Side, money down the drain again on white elephants such as the theatre royal and the attempt to build a tunnel at the end of eastern beach, the list is endless and the costs monstrous but never totally revealed to us, the taxpayers. The CM is responsible because in his model of government the impression garnered is that he has the last say, the only say and the deciding say. I have explained how people say he treats his ministers and anyone who falls under his authority. The CM is seen to do everything he does off his own bat. But nearly things he does are WRONG and VERY COSTLY. The electorate is fed up with the bungling of this govt. The emergency services are not provided sufficient assets to deal with emergencies. The police are not provided with the marine assets they need to confront unpleasant and potentially very dangerous incursions into our waters. Now we discover that storage tanks containing combustible and explosive materials are not protected properly. No sprinkler systems, no cooling systems, no anti combustion dispersant systems, no monitoring systems. OUT I say, we must change this administration.


  51. To start off with let me just say that the blazing fire we all witnessed was certainly not the CM’s fault and would also equally not have been averted if any other person were in that position. Accidents do happen, but I am a firm believer that these occur less often when stringent rules and procedures are followed. Clearly this was not the case this time round. Perhaps these rules are set out in the English language and not “en Castellano” which may have been more appropriate given the nationality of the workers. Maybe, and I’m just guessing here, Spanish rules are different when it comes to welding in highly explosive areas! But my question is now:- Who is to blame? well, we could all, quite easily point fingers but the initial blame rests solely on the workers who by-passed or ignored health and safety rules. If we are to believe that these procedures existed, my next question is why were they allowed to carry out such an irresponsible act? Which brings me to the next level of responsibility. Surely these workers did not climb up and together decided to solder whatever they were meant to do without a supervisor, inspector, fellow worker, or whoever, first giving permission to carry out the works! If there was no supervisor at hand to advise or prevent workers from carrying out this type of work, why did these workers feel free to carry out the job? Clearly there is a lot to answer to and all responsible parties in charge of these tanks should look inwards and question how this was allowed to happen. Additionally a separate enquiry should be set up immediately in order to ascertain the causes of such a disaster and why it took so long to get this fire under control. Thankfully a worse scenario did not materialise,i.e. that the workers are still alive, the tank’s top did not land on the other side of the mole, only a few cruise passengers were hurt, the cruise liner was not damaged and that a large oil spill was averted.


  53. Anon@17.55

    Could it be that the only way that the independence and credibility of an investigation can be be ensured is by contracting a UK expert?

  54. anon @ 15:18 the chief minister cannot take all the credit for everything that is rosy including his name on all the plaques and not take the blame when the inverse happens.

    The buck stops at No6. Whether its the handing out of a contract, the colour of the railings in a new project, the readiness or otherwise of a job pending in one of the Government's flats, the allocation of a flat in the new estates, the arrangements for adequate procedures in place in case of a situation occurring in the port, the chairing of the disaster management committee, etc.
    You cannot NOT delegate one moment and be a co-operative another!

  55. The only inquiry regarding the Oil tank incident that will have any credibility is one that is 'Totally Independent' by someone who is completely unconnected from any government agency or department. If not there will be a lingering suspicion that any investigation will never reveal to the public what really happened or if anyone or thing is to blame.


  56. call me a cynic if you like, but does it not strike you a little strange for a close personal friend of the CM to be heading the 'save the street names' campaign?

    or is this that the CM is actually an expert in disaster management and has managed to turn this heritage disaster into an example of how the GSD are listening and willing to backtrack, naming another street after Bishop Devin and keeping Devil's Tower Road. This way they have an explanation for the Catholic vote in case they are irked about all this (a bit like with the age of consent debacle)!

  57. Anonymous at 20:56

    This is conspiracy theory taken to the extreme of fictions.

  58. lol Robert most conspiracy theories are but its food for thought nonetheless, and maybe not too far-fetched, only time will tell!

  59. To Anon at at 2056 -

    I wouldn't call you a cynic, thats too mild. I would call you a coward who hidies behind anonymity. The other things I would call you Robert would edit out, so I will leave them to your incredible imagination.

  60. Patrick, my imagination is incredible, I must admit, and I sincerely hope to be completely wrong about this possible, if somewhat improbable, theory but only because politics would have dropped to an all-time low if this were to actually be the case.
    It is my honest belief however, that if the Heritage Trust has come out in defence of keeping the original names, their complaint should be acknowledged and acted upon as soon as possible by the Government that is forever telling us how they like to work with the Trust. I fully support your attempts at redressing this very silly move by the Government, and hope your actions tonight, and over the last few weeks have not been in vain.

    As to my anonymity, you may see this as cowardice, but unfortunately not all of us enjoy your freedom to speak and act as we see fit. Do not judge a man until you have walked a week in his shoes!

  61. Aren't we deviating from the topic at hand.

  62. Amen to anon 21.39.....

    Some of us rely on the mask, ...say no more.

    Disciple X
    (Stone Cutters Society)

  63. To Patrick Canessa,

    some of us hide behind the veil of anonymity because when we have come out publicly we have unfortunately been severely reprimanded and suffered certain repurcussions.

    Show your courage if you are a Goverment employee and comment on discrepancies within the dept you work for. Lets see if you are as brave you make yourself out to be?

    I'll answer the question for you!

    You wouldn't have the balls.

  64. Gibraltar traditionally always had four Emergency ambulances.

    In December the MOD relinquished their ambulance and Gibraltar currently has three emergency ambulances to deal with major incidents. Two provided by the Gibraltar Health Authority and one provided by the City Fire Brigade.

    Following the incident at the North Mole all fire fighters were recalled in order to assist. Hence the third ambulance became unavailable.

    The total compliment of Emergemcy ambulances so I am informed for both the major incident and local emergencies was consequently reduced to two.

    Rather worrying if that's the case?

  65. Anon 22.01

    I Agree.

    A retired fire fighter

  66. What a shame GBC never asks those kind of question?

  67. and what a relief the tank's top didn't fall on top of the cruise liner and passengers ended up needing hospital attention! Now that would have been embarrassing, not to mention the damage it would have done to our reputation worldwide!

  68. El patrick Canessa sera otro que vive en los mundos de Yupi!

    If the GSD do not get re-elected, I sincerely hope many of these stories we hear, frequently challenged by the likes of Canessa, come to light! Itd be fun to see como alguno se tendran que comer una ***** then!

  69. Robert, why have you censored the comment about GBC? Whilst I can accept that you might want to edit or modify it, the evidence is there and anyone who watches the NW programme nightly, will be able to come to the conclusion that ONLY ONE reporter (the same one) has interviewed the CM in the last few months! Its not like GBC have a massive team of reporters and are able to allocate that specific reporter the charge of "The CMs official interviewer"! I accept the editing out the part that others are not allowed to interview him, but IT IS A FACT that just one reporter has interviewed him every single time in the last few months (just under a year I believe). I keep tabs on such things as I watch NW nightly and it really stands out!

  70. Anonymous at 23:34

    You have answered your own question ... now the point that can be made is made.

  71. RV

    I am Anon 2334 Thanks LOL :-)

  72. interesting point anon @ 23:34 I will make a point of noting the interviewer from now on!

  73. This incident will have deep reprocussions on the cruise line industry in Gibraltar. It wud not surprise me if Royal Carribean & Celebrity pull out of Gib. We do not have the space, the resources nor the eqipment to tackle these incidents and these liner companys primary concern is passenger safety. Gib will need to come up to standard pronto if we are gonna try to compete with other mature ports. Although it will be denied Mr Bishop is an emergency consultant who has worked worldwide. His opinion MUST be digested and acted upon. Nadie es profeta en su tierra!

  74. GBC should schedule a viewpoint programme on this incident.
    It would be interesting to see whether Mr Bishop would be invited?

  75. There is a topic in FB re:What do we Vote for at an Election?

    Has this been dealt here?

  76. Anonymous at 09:16

    Yes, I wrote about this on the 27tht May 2011 and it will have been posted on the Lllanito World- Freedom of Speech page in the "discussion" tab.

  77. RV it seems NO REFORMS are going to take place after all, "surprise surprise".


    You back in it then?


  78. If I recall correctly there have been a couple of vacancies for Disaster management team members in the last two years. I cannot for the life of em recall what capacity - maybe they were just an Admin type post and not for the Actual Disaster management co-ordinator role. But I do know that one of the last advertised vacancies was filled by an ex-Accountant. Hopefully it will have been an Admin post!

  79. I am ANON 2334 It seems like Ive been heard lol After many months of having just the ONE journo interview Caruana, Im listening to Radio Gib right now, y hoy se rompe el pattern. Today a second jorno has interview him.......maybe his Interviewer esta de liberta?????? Anyway, thought it right that I also mention the "change" today after last night's posts! But up until last night the above post was true - anyone who follows NW nightly will know this!

  80. Kaelan:

    Que impaciente eres ... wait for my next blog! I was running out now I have 2 or 3 in my head .......

  81. Llanito World, you were too forthright and totally wrong when you recently said that there was "no burning issue" in Gibraltar!

  82. anon @ 01:28 is right, this can have repercussions on the cruise-liner industry. Whether it will or not, remains to be seen. All our friends next door have to do is point out our failings to the big companies and suggest berthing in Algeciras instead with coach tours into Gibraltar. Its already been done from Malaga with certain cruise liners that used to stop here in the past but no longer do.
    Perhaps it is in our best interest if this is swept under the carpet and ignored instead of coming up with a damning report on just how close The Independence came to a disaster on Tuesday.

  83. I see Picardo has bottled out of parliamentary reform despite making it one of his flagship issues in his inaugural interview in the chronicle as leader of the opposition. Always the same opposition. Always looking for political advantage rather than the good of the community and progress.

  84. Pedro, you're back! and you've found something to bash Picardo with... that explains it! LOL

    What is it you don't agree with exactly in Picardo's statement? You mention his reply and ridicule it, but offer no reasons as to why.

    Perhaps if you detail the reasoning behind your comments, then the rest of us can engage in serious debate.

    I await your reply...

  85. will Picki also bottle out of the call for a forensic audit?

  86. Bottled out, Pedro?
    Reading Picardo's statement, he makes it very clear reforms are at the top of the agenda, only this is not a kiddie's park which can be purchased without using the tender system and installed at the eleventh hour by private companies working around the clock to ensure it is ready for the cameras and relevant Minister's photo opportunity, regardless of the cost to the tax-payer.

    I believe the Government are attempting to palm us off with mediocrity just to keep us, and mostly Robert, quiet. I also believe they want to do this in Parliament instead of the Select Committee in order to use the Government's majority to succeed. They know full well that in a Select Committee, the Opposition, will not blindly bow to the CM's whim like his ministers will and they will insist on better reforms, properly planned and thought out with full public consultation.

    Taking this into consideration, it seems to me that the only side here looking for political advantage rather than the good of the community or progress is the GSD!

  87. Devils Advocate3 June 2011 at 20:17

    Anon 18.35
    Probably por que people con el culo de paja no juegan con fuego.

  88. Al final, pa lleva la contraria Sacramento is interviewing Caruana, after only one same journo interviewed him for most part of the year.

    But this is cos the "regular" journo is away....no? LOL

  89. Interesting to read Gibraltar Police Commissioner Luis Wink giving well deserved praise to the Emergency Services and others following Tuesday’s North Mole Incident. He is of course sensitive to constructive criticism as he probably feels the whole operation was a “text book” response. He then goes on to accuse those who have remarked negatively on the incident as having hidden agendas or motives and seeking to diminish the effectiveness of the Emergency Services, without realizing the consequences of what being in the front line really means. This remark is presumably directed at Joe Bishop, a premier league professional with years of front line experience and who has probably forgotten more about Emergency Management than Mr Wink will ever learn.

  90. Clearly Picardo is finding it difficult to come up with ten candidates, let alone the potential fourteen candidates in the likely event the electoral reform is done before the upcoming elections, hense his sudden u turn not to support the reform. Should we be surprised that he is finding difficulties in getting people to join him ?

  91. I think people are jumping to conclusions for party political reasons on the issue of electoral reform. I will be writing on that subject on Sunday...

  92. I think TopCop mr Wink got the wrong end of the stick. I don't think anybody in gibraltar has criticised the Emergency Services. On the contrary, I think that everyone in Gibraltar has praised the Emergency Services, and the criticism he speaks about is only aimed at the Government for not providing our Emergency Response teams with the adequate facilites and tools!

    Mr Wink se equivoca if he thinks people are criticising the front line men and women! Pesonally I only have praise for them, even more so knowing with what little they work!

    Teh Ambulance Service is very understaffed and not forgeting the few ambulances we have available. The CFB also have a major problem as they are not adequately equipped. And our Police officers have the same problem. Despite multiple serious knife related attacks on Police Officers in the last few years, our police men and women are yet to be equipped with "suitable" stab vests / jackets despite this being promised years ago. Also, despite a rise in "violent attacks" they continue to only be equipped with batons and cuffs (more dangerous than helpful if they patrol on their own like they do and are overpowered) - maybe the RGP should pressurise govt into giving them what they require to excel even more than they already do , cos truth be said they do a decent job considering the limitations they have!

    But again it seems that Heads of Emergency Services go on the defensive to PROTECT the Government instead of using this golden opportunity to highlight the fact that their personnel perform excelently despite the lack of resources and equipment! mr Wink, use this opportunity to the advantage of your officers and work at getting them better tools! They already do an excellent job as it is!

  93. Anonymous at 21:47

    An excellent and well made point ... I agree with you fully.

  94. How can people be jumping to conclusions Robert, he came out saying that parliamentary (not electoral) reform was top of his agenda as new leader. The Government welcomed it and said that they would like the agenda moved forward because Bossano was simply not interested. They publish the proposals which include monthly ministerial question time, monthly chief minister's question time, increase in MPs to allow for backbenchers, televising parliamentary sessions, etc etc. Then it all turns out to be too complicated for Picardo. He says we need more consultation. Isnt this what they said about the equalisation of the age of consent despite it being their policy? What about their volt face on the constitution. Change? This is the same old crap.

  95. So what next.....I think this topic has been exhausted....we are all always clever after the event and this explosive situation has certainly highlighted how clever we all are!!

    It seems we've all become critical management experts (and I include myself) when really only two sides have shown to be involved. On the one side we have the Emergency services and on the other the ultra professional JB and his advocates.

    Its difficult to choose and I would rather not want to do so but I think its rather unfortunate that we havent been able to tap on our local expert previously. With more hope than reality, I keep gazing into the horizon and wonder what JB's fee would be? and whether he could be made to fit into the C3?

    Doubtful, so I'll keep gazing and wonder and hope for a safer Rock.

  96. RV

    Electoral Reform?

    Will you be presenting us with concrete proposals?

  97. An Ex Police Officer3 June 2011 at 22:05

    I am an ex police officer and agree with the above post. Mr Wink, use this golden opportunity now that the entire community is praising our Emergency Response teams to DEMAND better equipment and resources. You know how "variable" the community is in their attitude toward the Police...you should make the most of the fact that at the moment your service alongside CFB and Ambulance are in the limelight for having gone beyond the expected and having excelled and use this mass support from the community to your advantage!

  98. Disciple X

    Not only have I done so here weeks ago but I have also published them in the local press. If you look at the index on the top right hand side of the blog page you will find blogs that explain my proposals.

  99. Anon 21.47 what do you mean protect the Government. Luis wink is an excellent cop beholden to no one. You criticise the government for an incident that was not of it's making. You praise the emergency services for the way the incident was handled but when our top cop rebuts criticisms which are of their nature directed at the way the command and control of the operation was handled, he is somehow defending the government. What he is doing is defending the way the incident was handled by the top people and down. Government is not part of the command and control at operational level. It is also very easy with the benefit of hindsight to talk about resources and immensely opportunistic. Itt's you who politicise are emergency services with arguments of this nature.

  100. Anon 2207

    Politics???? Definitely not.


    read my post again. I AM NOT BLAMIONG GOVT for the incident...that would make me STUPID, and I AM NOT...I am highlighting the fact that they are not adequately equipped and THIS COMES from GOVT not allocating them SUFFICIENT FUNDS or PRIORITISNG the many BASIC tools they require and which they DO NOT HAVE!

    ASK anyone who works in EMERGECNY RESPONSE!

  101. Pedro

    This is off topic. I have said that I will give my view on Sunday so wait.I have not said what conclusions people are jumping to. Why do you conclude it is against the GSD? I assure you that it will be my independent view. The GSD proposals have been the subject of past criticism fro me, which I maintain. Your propagandist party partial view is noted for its bias. Enough for now, wait until Sunday and then criticise me.

    Finally, other than the GSD proposal to have backbenchers, none of the other suggestions require legislation, so why does the GSD not just move on them and introduce the reforms? Let the GSD prove it means what it says by making those changes? I do not think ot is enough but its a start.

  102. Devils advocate..

    Dear Robert,

    I find it quite funny that somebody has made a comment using this particular name.

    I have over the last few weeks been reading this blog regularly though haven't had the time to contribute.

    Just so that you are aware it appears that there now exists two devils advocates.

    The Original Devils Advocate!!!

    NB have to get together for another Friday evening drink/chat Robert?

  103. Devils Advocate..

    My contribution towards this debate is as follows.

    I believe viewpoint will be holding a debate with regards major incidents in Gibraltar next wek.

    It will be interesting if invited to determin the opinion of Mr Bishop possibly the only local leading authority on such issues.


    Devils Advocate..

  104. Robert whats your opinion with regards the local administration not utilising such an asset as Mr Bishop irrespective of political differences?

  105. Anonymous at 00:06

    Your question is predicated on an unprovable premise that he is not used due to political differences. I do not know enough about Mr Bishop's areas of expertise or about emergencies to give a specific considered opinion. What I have said in the past is that if a Gibraltarian has the necessary training and experience that should be used in Gibraltar.

  106. Robert apologies I am unaware if their exists any political differences with regards this gentleman and or the local Government.

    I was just attempting to eliminate any possible political differences from your answer.

    With regards this gentlemans credentials I have done some online research including a interview posted on the vox website and this gentleman appears to be the real deal.

    Certainly from what I have researched this gentleman (Mr Bishop) surpasses anybody locally in terms of experience, qualifications, theory and or practical experience.

  107. Anonymous at 00:22

    Apologies for my misunderstanding ... you know more about Mr Bishop than me then, sorry.

  108. Tyrone Duarte says:

    Along with Mr Bishop there is potentially one other qualified Gibraltarian, albeit living in the UK and with a different experiential base: Mr Kevin Smith. I would like to hear both of their professional views in detail.

    I was disappointed not to hear more from Mr Bishop on GBC; as I live in the UK I rely on the internet for my news from home.

    By the way, I salute all the lads in both fire services who helped to deal with the situation, the coppers, the paramedics, and our cousins from Salvamento Maritimo (I wish they'd been called earlier and those of us in the risk game know that there's no politics when it comes to death and injury).

    But I especially salute, the young copper who charged up the oil drum - dos cojones pisha!

    (And well done to my brother Brian Reyes for getting the story out so quickly i the Chronic).

    PS - hello to all my friends in Gib from sunny Shrivenham. Robert, apologies for this liberty and thank you for your blog.

  109. To Anon 21.47 (I think)

    In the aftermath of such an incident it would certainly come across as childish if the Emergency Chiefs came out howling and complaining at the lack of adequate resources available.

    This kind of thing is left for the rest of us who like to complain and air our democratic views (and may I add anonymously) in the hope of putting across our own personal and "infallible" view.

    My view right now, as I settle down after the hysteria caused by the explosion, is that the pertinent authorities sit down and assess the management of the incident and hopefully learn lessons that will avoid unnecessary delays in the future and ensure that future incidents (God forbid) are handled more expeditiously.

  110. Anon 22.11 you are blaming the government for not adequately resourcing the emergency services but you assume that the emergency services have actually told the government that they need those extra resources. In Gibraltar something happens and we are all prophets after the event with a culture of finger pointing at the authorities if it suits political ends.

  111. Anon 13:22

    Clearly has a hidden agenda of some sorts.


  112. Anon 1322

    I do NOT "assume that the emergency services have actually told the government that they need those extra resources. "

    I Know so.

    YOU ASSUME the Emergency Services have not informed Govt that they need those extra resources!

    I know what I am saying on good authority, because without wanting to give too much away, I work in the field of Emergency response! So I DO KNOW and I DO NOT ASSUME!

  113. Tyrone Duarte:

    Star Gazer, after the hysteria and political frenzy I agree that there should be some sort of post-operational review.

    I would hope that said review would: firstly, examine the health and safety measures in place to mitigate against such an incident occuring in ths first place, and establish whther a risk matrix of some description and/or a specific risk assessment had been conducted for the job in question; secondly, that it establish whether sufficient resources exist in Gibraltar to deal with an incident of this nature, with particular attention to the fire fighting equipment; and, thirdly, to examine the politio-civilian decision making process within, and outwith, the established crisis management structures, and an evaluation as to the effectiveness and suitability of those structures.

    Finally, and in order to avoid the "culture of finger pointing [...] if it suits political ends" alluded to by Anon 13:22, external auditors must be involved, perhaps from the US in order to give a non-British angle to all this.

    Ancillary to all this I expect that legal minds will be turning to the issue of criminal negligence and/or corporate manslaughter, but I think we should leave it to Parliament and the courts to act in a manner that accords with the highest possible standards of the parliamentary democracy we purport to be.

    Let's not forget that a worker is fighting for his life and a family is suffering whilst we debate all this, so before we raise our hands against each other let's pray for these poor people, and let Gibraltar do what ir can in any material sense.

  114. The Commissioner of Police should be very careful when making statements criticising those who have a different view to his. Wink has a habit of making what some may consider to be politically linked comments which does not do him or the police any good at all.
    No one has a bad word to say regarding the performance of the emergency services the other day. This commissioner has never taken kindly to any form of criticism, does he remind you of anyone?

  115. Anon@13.22

    I could not agree with you more. It is amazing how many disaster experts have come out of the closet after the event. I have never heard or read anybody publicly warning us of a lack of human or material resources before it happened.

  116. Your 22.06 … the benefit of hindsight to talk about resources and immensely opportunistic!!!! Are resources the responsibility of the general public or the so called experts to identify resource needs before the event and submit request for procurement to Government?. The only thing hindsight proves is that foresight has failed and this in any major incident is very dangerous indeed. Has this not been a question of “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”

  117. Denis you are right, the only resources that could have made a difference is the purchase of specialist boats with fire fighting capabilities and, whatever anon at 13.55 might say about his inside knowledge no one has ever said that we should purchase these. If you look at the disputes of the past between the fire brigade represented by unite and the government this has never been issue. It may well be true that there has been requests for more ambulances or people who work with ambulances but that would not have led to a more effective dealing with the fire. In fact, can I ask anon 13.55 how many exercises have taken place on the north mole by fire fighters or anyone else which would have enabled them to determine whether the realises on the ground were sufficient to deal with a contingency of this nature? Probably none. And by the way anon 13.55 don't assume the rest of us have no knowledge of these issues.

  118. El cornflakes es maravilloso, anyone with a different view to his or anyone who is anti GoG, has a hidden agenda. It's called democracy kaelan. Dicelo a tu Picardo.

  119. RV,

    Honestly, I think this issue has been exhausted from almost every angle. We await the final report with anticipation, to say the least. In the meantime, RV, bring on your next topic so that your disciples may feast from your written word.

  120. Tyrone

    What's in a letter!

    US experts? why not UN experts? Hmmmm...oh! I think we've tackled that one

  121. Brotherhood beware,

    Kaelan is an agent provocateur, (not to be confused with the luxury lingerie by the same name!)


  122. Tyrone good to here from you hope you are well mate. anyway to add to this great Blogg.

    Both Kevin Smith and I were inspired by Mr Bishops career profile hence the reason for us applying to Coventry University to read the Disaster Management and Engineering Bsc of which Joe was an external examiner. Kevin is now an expert in the field and works for the Surrey County Counsil in this capacity.
    Mr Bishop has been involved in many disasters around the globe ranging (to be breif) from the morgate tube disater in the earlt seventies to the Mexican and Armenian Earthquakes of the Eighties. He has also Deployed to Ruwanda in the early 90's were he has seen first hand the devastation of Genocide. Nairobi was another were many died due to a Terrorist explosion. He is also works in a private capacity (Not UN) for
    petrochemical industries in Venesuela Cuba Argentina and Colombia to name a few. he has also trained our Neighbours in citys like Madrid and Bilbao. he also is a consultant to other countries around the world in other strands of disater related sublects like for example Tsunamis.

    Not bad for a simple Firefighter who left Gibraltar 40 Years Ago to persue his career ambitions.WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF THIS

    However I could be accused of being biast(and i will take it on the CHIN) as after all he is my father in law.

    However saying this and to bring a humourous angle to my post I wont disclose my Views on what kind of a father -in-law he is.

    What i can Honestly say and deduct from his colleges in the industry is that when the Man speaks publically he may say things that sound rather harsh and possibly insulting (it cant all be a bed of roses)but i can assure you he is only pointing out what went wrong(after possibly offering his advise during the event not only in Hiensight you never know) and what we need to do to improve. Surely this must be welcomed as advice that will someday save the reputation and Lives of our extremely dedicated committed and proffessional Emergency Services.

    who I congratulate for the wonderful Job they did last week and im sure will continue to do.

    why dosent the govt bring him on board you never know he may do it for peanuts compared to others contracted.

    Just My Humble Opinion.

  123. Ok... hands up all those who have googled "Agent provocateur"... LOL

  124. Oh with the benefit of hindsight apologies for my spelling mistakes.

  125. I will admit to googling it and by the looks of it our C3 committee are in dire need of a "Dolores" suspender and a pair of "Noir pasties" to cover up some unwanted nipples....ooops I meant ripples..

    I hope Disciple X does not object...lololol


  127. RV,

    A tracking device o your blog! I hope you are not becoming paranoid?

  128. Disciple X

    No paranoia just that someone suggested the gadget because another person doubted the viewing figures in a Group date on FB ... the tracker does not identify anyone by name.

  129. RV,

    Doubt is for the unbelievers.

    “Any belief worth having must survive doubt"

    However for your information, your blog is tracking a dynamic IP number, date and time. All the ingredients for someone in the knowhow to identify someone. The least said the better!

    Anonymity is essential to your blog and to unintentionally uncover our cloak of secrecy may work against you.

  130. McSteel: it was only a matter of time before some gslp fanatic started blaming Joe Holliday for the accident on the port. Joe has spent the last 15 years in government for the public good when he could have been attending to his own business affairs.He deserves thanks not criticism.

  131. Disciple X

    Noted and so ... gadget removed :) thank you ... that possibility that you have alerted me to was not known by me and unintended :)

  132. after looking at the C3 sitting safely out of harm's way under No.6, I can understand why Joe Bishop does not fit into the present format.
    The images showed how the Disaster Manager's chair was not around the table, instead placed to one side against the wall.
    Somehow I can't quite imagine Mr Bishop sitting quietly in the corner, allowing the room full of other men to take all the decisions.


  133. Joe Bishop

    I follow the comments in this blog with great interest and try to be objective and focused in my interpretation of the comments made. I’ve refrained from commenting, as I rather engage in face to face open debate or in submitting article for publication in the local media. But I feel it would be remiss of me not to comment on the provision of resources for emergency response.

    Politicians are not professionals in emergency management and rely on the expert advice from Emergency Managers and Head of Departments to brief them on resource needs for any particular hazard, they will then decide taking into account financial provisions, risk factors and rate of probable frequency of an event, whether to procure the resources in full, in part or not at all.

    The Emergency Managers by this action would have ensured that the Government has been properly advise and would exempt them from any blame of “insufficient resources” when the proverbial hits the fan!!!!!!

  134. McSteel

    I see no criticism just a fair comment inquiring why the Minister for the Port has not made any comment on the recent incident at the Port.

  135. anon@ 19:18
    16 years ago there was but one shop, today there are several more! It seems the business affairs have been attended to despite the selfless sacrifice to the People!

  136. Nice to hear from the man himself.

    Judging from what he says, I wonder whether this exonerates the CM from the barbed criticism he is receiving? and whether we should be looking for explanations from the professionals?

    The plot thickens and I am none the wiser.

  137. RV,

    The fact that you have removed the gadget does not mean that it has been removed completely. I am aware that these gadgets can be set in invisible mode. However being a believer, like so many in this blog, I will place my trust in you that you have removed the gadget and it's association to that website.

  138. Tyrone Duarte says:

    Star Gazer, Not sure what your comment at 16:46 meant. What I meant by US experts was consultants like those who assessed the recent BP accident - for all I care we could even bring on Repsol YPF's consultants. The point is that they should be so far removed from the local situation that they would hold no stock with anybody and so could deliver a totally impartial post-operational report.

    Mark, great to hear from you - get my details from my brother. It's been busy and likely to get busier next year with the Olympics! It'll be last minute dotcom as usual with HMG! LOL!!! (Aplogies again Robert for using this medium to contact old buddies, but the fact is that llanitoworld is like La Piasa on a Saturday morning!)

  139. Disciple X

    I have removed it and cancelled the subscription ... you have my word on that.

  140. Disciple X I think that people are too quick to politicise incidents such as this. It is a general election year and people on both sides of the political divide perceive a close contest. The reality is that it is unlikely that anyone can point to any public statement from anyone saying there was a need for better sea side fire fighting equipment. I read everything. I watch gbc every night and it has simply never been an issue. Some one else has mentioned Joe holiday. The only criticism in that regard must surely be limited to how on earth someone is welding so near a tank with waste oil either at a time when there is a liner along side or at all. But surely this is not the minister's fault but the port authorities. The captain of the port has employed a lot of ex pats because of their experience. Well what does he have to say about this. If anyone's head should role it is his not the minister.

  141. Tyrone,

    Just a play with words and letters. The fact that Joe is a "UN" expert and not a "US" expert and that he's not a foreigner but one of US.

    Yes I know ... a bit convoluted!! lol

  142. Disciple X your comments about trackable IP addresses and identification of people will have made s..t their pants. I am told there some influential lawyers out there trying desperately to find out the identity of some.

  143. Anonymous at 20:06

    You are scaremongering your statement is an invention.

  144. Tyrone Duarte:

    Star Gazer, ahora veo! I have to be a bit more receptive to banter!

    Robert, i'm signing off on this subject before it turns to electronic espionage! LOL!!! If that's the way some lawyers are going it's time for the Arab Spring to hit our streets.

    On a serious note, a friend of mine commented to me how the Syrian government is using the internet to track young protestors. In interrogations they are first subjected to extreme physical torture and then presented with a laptop with details of their "crimes".

    I hope that we are not even thinking of going down this route in Gibraltar, albeit with emotional, psychological and legal intimidation in lieu of physical abuse. Those considering it should take a very long pause, regardless of what they think about their precious reputations.

  145. Anon 20.06,

    In the digital age we live in, anything is possible. The right contact in the right place at the right time and your cover is blown.

    If influential lawyers have the time to "desperately" search for identities, so be it. Its their time and energy to lose.

    Always remember that two can play the same game and I guess a lawyer's reputation is far more important to them than being exposed as weasels.

    Anyway Blogs can be moved from site to site making the search a huge waste of time. Food for thought ;)

    The Brotherhood (with its myriad of opinions from all sides of the political spectrum) must remain firm.

  146. Maravilloso y agent provocateur lololololol Valiente cracks.

    Anon 16:34

    "Anyone who is anti GoG, has a hidden agenda"? Arreve diras no? lololol


  147. well, well, well, Robert, it was only a question of time before they got to you too, you are a perceived threat, after all!

    We witnessed it in Facebook first but it all seemed too far-fetched and highly improbable at the time. Perhaps now you won't be so quick to doubt all those conspiracy theories that pop up now and again!

    Let me say that the harder they drive, the weaker their chances in the ballot box!

    electoral reforms? we need freedom of speech first and then we can discuss the rest.

  148. Anonymous at 20:38

    Got to me? Sorry ... am I missing something?

  149. Llanito-world is the last outpost of self-expression free of scrutiny and control as Facebook has proved anonymity reigns when the voice is of dissent. Here the arguments continue instead of having to resort to a quiet withdrawal to avoid being targeted.
    I believe the scaremongering has begun and your blog is next in the line of attack.

    For our sakes, please ensure your security settings are secure!

  150. Anonymous at 21:19

    I had an IT specialist try and trace anonymous posters as a test and he was unable to do it. He tells me that the reason is because I am hosted on blogspot, so relax.

  151. Marlene Hassan Nahon4 June 2011 at 21:55

    Dear Robert,

    After reading all the comments, i think its so sad, and such a waste of time to have to bear witness to all these 'conspiracy theories' and 'government plots' out of a simple accident. Ok not quite so simple in nature, yet simple in the sense that ACCIDENTS do happen.

    Only 2 days after the one in Gib there was a very similar one in a plant in Wales. AN ACCIDENT. THEY HAPPEN.

    Imagine if all the energy wasted by the vast majority of the 150 comments so far, if this time and effort was spent more positively instead of pointing fingers and slagging off anyone and everyone involved.

    Que verguenza. IT was an accident! Following that there were droves of specialised and non specialised people working their asses off to extinguish and ensure damage limitation. Can't we just leave it there and praise all these brave and hardworking individuals and organisations instead of having the usual go at the 'unsavories of the month'?

    Wouldn't it be much more constructive and positive if we all pooled together and discussed instead the disgraceful threats and behaviour of our Spanish neighbours who have decided to 'take court action' against the Gibraltar Govt for the blaze? - Whether we agree and favour or not the current administration, now is the time to show some solidarity within our community, not nitpick at who did what, who didn't do enough, and who didn't know what they were doing.

    Meanwhile we were all sitting at home watching the blaze on TV throughout the night with a cup of tea and popcorn!

    It happened! Because accidents happen! They happen all around the globe despite what government is in charge! Yes, an investigation into the event and factors that may have contributed is a great idea in order to LEARN FROM MISTAKES MADE and improve quality of practice and procedures, but for Gds sakes, what a shame this witch hunt.

    I think its time we grow up and be mature about this situation, stop looking for scapegoats and show some solidarity!


    Marlene Hassan Nahon

  152. Marlene

    I think you overstate your case. There are many constructive comments. There is a difference between an avoidable accident and a true accident. It is too early to tell but it seems to me that this incident has all the ingredients of an avoidable accident. so let us wait and see but blame must lie somewhere.

  153. Robert,

    Don't you see?

    Marelene was merely following party lines (blindly at that). Those things you highlight and quite obvious to the objective observer don't seem quite as obvious to her :)

    In my humble opinion of course.


  154. I thought Picardo was brilliant in commending the emergency services and clearly shows that he is fit for the job.PLC! what a marketing coup for the guy. Best of all we have the Dr himself coming to the fore and giving us his political opinion and clear innuendo of this entire episode as the fault of Govt's. Genius stuff!
    Clearly this is all about the change we can trust. PLC.
    The best is yet to come, in the form of the oppsitions serious concerns on the current parliamentary reform proposals. They want to wait and are unsure now, there new Tuesday shadow cabinet meetings and collegiate style of govt has suddenly given them all inspiration after 16 years of sitting on a fence throwing stones and they want to wait to consult with the people.

  155. Cornflakes at it again I see. Menus mal que no es del GSLP, so no estaria metio de bajo la Mesa de democracia en watergatdens, doing a lewinsky.

  156. Marlene Hassan Nahon4 June 2011 at 22:40


    How can you be so assuming? Do you know me? Do you know anything about me? How can you be so sure about my private thoughts re: who I'm going to vote for when i draw the curtain on election day?

    Who are you to judge me as blind? On the contrary, and this is where you have completely misinterpreted me, I like to think i am expressing a more humanitarian and less political view unlike you and some others on the witch hunt.

    I was precisely trying to express the need to depoliticise views on this matter given that it was an ACCIDENT. Perhaps, you who is so party driven can only see others in the same light?

    In my humble opinion of course......


  157. No mujer, El special K is not party driven, he just likes Fabian's new democratic and collegiate style of Govt. K has an accute sense of genius when it comes to forming an impartial character assessment and has come to the conclusion that it is Fab that will save the day. It's all about the change you can trust Marlene...:)

  158. If which I doubt there is a cabal of slime balls out there trying to find out who the anons are it strikes me that those very slime balls probably have a lot to hide. They will be exposed!

  159. Kaelan,

    Are the things that you consider obvious and you say Marlene doesn't get, not reminiscent of the Picardo issues that are so OBVIOUS as well given that they are factual and still you and others don't get the danger of their implications for Gibraltar?

    Just a thought....

  160. Tyrone Duarte:

    Lordy I was cracking open the second bottle of red and had another look...

    Ms Hassan Nahon makes a valid point about the solidarity we must show when faced with external hostility from Spain.

    However, there are 3 distinct issues here that the political factions are conflating to a lesser or greater degree:

    1. The accident and the necessary investigation, which I am afraid cannot be laid to rest, not only because of the humanitarian aspect, but also because a significant part of our economy relies on a credible port infrastructure. This is no different as the FSC having to investigate any shortcomings within the financial sector.

    2. The political divide in Gibraltar, which I would leave firmly in the hands of the electorate.

    3. The attacks from Spain, that must be dealt with robustly and with the acceptance that on the lead up to a positively hostile pre-election frenzy in Spain the PP and PSOE are going to bash each other mercilessly and we will be ammunition for them. In relation to this we must live with the reality that the PP will get in, and Rajoy will come at us with Messrs Aristegui and Landaluce in the vanguard - it's going to be nasty and we may as well forget Cordoba for now.

    Let's achive the first, as a community is only as strong as the valid criticism it can take from itself.

    As regards the second, please let's not be visceral about our internal politics. Mr Joyce, if Ms Hassan Nahon was following the party line blindly as you assert so were you, and your comment was simply inelegant.

    As regards Spain: dig in - we've been here before, and let's pray that Morocco does not go belly up.

  161. Thank you Tyrone well put and good to see that more and more people are commenting in their own name. At least Kaelan had the courage to do so from very early on ..

  162. Tyrone Duarte:

    Freaked Out, the scare mongering over Mr Picardo's business dealings and their implication for Gibraltar are out of order.

    Regardless of what you may think personally about him the fact is that he has not been charged with anything.

    The facts you allude to, and many others you are unaware of, can be interpreted in many different ways, but the only interpretation that would count would be in a court of law.

    By the way, and before the political factions leap on me: I have refrained, and will refrain from criticising Mr Holliday in the absence of an investigations findings; and, I readily admit that Mr Picardo is a long standing friend given that we grew up together in Willis' Road and the same schools.

  163. Tyrone Duarte:

    Robert, I admire Kaelan's courage, but the political sniping does not serve any of us well. I have no idea who Ms Hassan Nahon is, but from her comment I was not able to infer that she is the supporter of any particular political party.

  164. Kaelan que guantaso sin mano te a dado la de Hassan. I told you some weeks ago that you have the habit of rushing into the sucker punch.

  165. Tyrone Duarte:

    That's a naughty question and you no what my answer will be!

  166. Tyrone:

    oops, I meant "know"... conyo Robert, hasta en los Londres ta bueno el Muga!

  167. Tyrone

    But that is the question I am faced with constantly with many comments and commentators!

  168. Tyrone I think you miss the point. It is precisely because things are going to get very hot with Spain that I do not feel comfortable with a potential chief minister being in the eye of a case such as blue prime. The secrecy surrounding the case in Spain makes me even more nervous. And before you accuse me of being party political, please know that I would probably have voted GSLP if Licudi has led it. Now I will probably vote PDP.

  169. Well said Tyrone. I commend you for your stance and your analytical, impartial views and the second bottle of Wine.

    I am hereby appointing you as another of our disciples of our distinguished BoB (Brotherhood of Bloggers).

    Keep it up and I'll elevate you to wizard status.

    On the issue of Kaelan, true he has shown his colours (yet again) but I see him more of a provocateur with delusions of grandeur, possibly out of a desire to feel wanted and recognised.

    RV, on the issue of courage, let me just say that the I nor silent BoB members have the time nor the inclination to disclose ourselves to everyone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the information that silent BoB provides, and then questions the fact that we don't reveal ourselves. Should you find us unworthy then you should not publish our comments. In the meantime our voices are as valid as those who reveal themselves.

    May it long continue.

  170. Tyrone Duarte:

    Robert, maybe you could divide the comments into two broad categories: comments on points of substance; and, political partisanship/gossip.

    Not sure how you can do that on a blog, but it may be worth looking at.

    Like yourself I don't believe in censorship, and do not envy your having to edit for libel!

  171. Trevor,

    I won't accuse you of anything. I won't comment in detail about the Blue Prime case, but all I will say is that the relevant Spanish authorities received all the help they needed to pursue their investigations - there is nothing that they can come back at Mr Picardo with other than for political expediency.

    In terms of political risk to Gibraltar we are more exposed on other flanks, but nobofy seems to be aware of the facts, or care about them. That's for the FSC to sort out.

  172. Disciple X

    I do not and have never questioned anonymity and certainly do not find anonymity unworthy but I do find that those who post in their name have that courage required to do so. No I will not stop publishing anonymous comments which I consider to be as valid as the comments made by anyone else. I will censor only on grounds of defamation to the best of my ability but even there I am not infallible in both directions.

    I trust that you are sufficiently reassured.

  173. Tyrone Duarte:

    Disciple X, I try to follow the Nazarene, but I think I am honoured at being considered part of the BoB! LOL!!!

  174. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    And with that I bid you a good night's rest

  175. Special K- stop judging ppl, I know Marlene, you have her all wrong, I'm sure she will vote for whoever she thinks would do best for gib.
    K if I were u I would write anon most of the time, I would be embarrassed by the way u portray yourself

  176. I suppose you think Kaelan should behave but Marlene can judge as she pleases.
    Marlene accuses us of saying this incident wasn't an accident despite nobody on this blog stating as much.
    But its okay, its Marlene, why should anybody dare question her!
    que verguenza indeed!!!

  177. Hoder man puesto de todo meno guapo :) jajaajaja

    Anon 1234 (es lo mismo no? lol) I am not really fussed if I get "recognised" or not, I will not be running for office anytime soon so why should I care?? :)

    Marlene I know for a fact that you are a GSD supporter, I may not know you personally but I do know of you. Do you deny this?

    The things I consider obvious (In my opinion):

    That the incident could have been better dealt with.

    Gibraltar is not equipped do deal with such eventualities:

    Joe Bishop in his VOX interview states the following, (when asked, "Is Gib equipped to deal with such eventualities?")

    "I'm afraid not. They are lacking in weight of attach by way of resources, large volume pumps, large capacity remotely controlled ground monitors - water/foam and a strong Command and Control Platform to coordinate the inter-agency response."

    A person cannot state that an accident is just an accident and nothing more, when it has not been formally concluded to have been so. Can we please wait for a formal investigation (by a panel of qualified individuals) to be carried out and finalised before jumping to such rash conclusions?

    The manner in which Marlene highlights the word ACCIDENT (more than once actually) and so adamantly states it was so, whilst not really knowing if this was the case, does seem rather “odd” don’t you think?

    Unless Marlene is qualified to make such assessments, are you Marlene? Please enlighten..... :) If you are please accept my most sincere apologies. I guess Joe Bishop is not the only Emergency management consultant in Gibraltar not employed by the Government after all. Or is he?????

    Anon 00:31

    I would be even more embarrassed if I had to hide being the cloak of anonymity in order to ridicule people, because I did not have the courage to do so on my own name. But that’s me vamo, what do I know right? lol :)

    Ps – Tyronne cut the crap. You respect me but..... Nunca fue amigo.


  178. Nobofy: Anon @23:35 says that Fabian Picardo has now finished helping the Spanish authorities with their enquiries regarding the Blueprime financial scandal and the case is closed as far as Mr. Picaredo is concerned.Surely such momentous news which will affect the voting intentions of many of us should come from Mr. P himself, or his part or his legal firm, ideally confirmed by the juez de instruccion and not from some person writing anonymously just before midnight on a Saturday. Me thinks that anon at 23: 35 is just one reckless wishful thinker. Be reckless with your affairs by all means 23:35 but not with Gibraltar's interests.

  179. I have just had time to read the statement on this incident by the Commissioner of Police. Like everyone on this post he has noting but praise for the men and women of the emergency services and other who participated in bringing the incident under control. He goes on to criticise those who have tried to diminish the effectiveness of the emergency services in a context that indicates that he is referring to criticism having been made of members of those services. i have seen no such criticism. i have seen nothing but praise and appreciation from all quarters for all the men and women who helped and risked injury and death in the process.

    Significantly he says not one word about the availability of equipment and material resources to enable these men and women to undertake the task that they faced effectively. It is in these matters that there has been criticism. Is his failure to refer to these issues an admission that the criticisms leveled on this front alone are valid? If not, let him and others who are charged with responsibility for the safety of Gibraltar state clearly and categorically that the emergency services were and are adequately equipped and resourced with sufficient and adequate material and equipment to deal with that incident and any similar occurrence in the future. We are dealing with peoples lives, including the lives of those members of our emergency services who are duty bound to risk injury and death.

  180. As Marlene says, accidents do happen but welding a tank full of fuel and explosive gasses is indicative of something more than an accident. It is indicative of possible failings to reach required standards by the company and possibly the port department which has to supervise activity under its jurisdiction. We are entitled to know what happened specially if in fact the explosion was caused by welding. Why were there no fixed jet foam hydrants in the area? Why are there fuel tanks so close to the liner berth? Is it true that the government delayed in calling in Spanish resources which could have extinguished the fire earlier? Why have n't the millions of £s which go into the consolidated fund from port business been invested in part in port safety? And yes there are political consequences which should not be brushed under the carpet of fake anti-Spanish patriotism. Everything so far points out to a failure in many aspects of running the port. Robert is right to point out that lives were put at risk as has our economy. As the minister who has basked in the glory of the "success" of the port for so many years Joe Holliday's silence now cannot be understood. The honourable thing for him to do is to resign now.


  181. Tyrone Duarte:

    Anon at 08:58, the comment about Blue Prime at 23:35 is mine - I just forgot to put my name to it.

    In your haste to charge at Mr Picardo you seem to have failed to notice that I also mention that Gibraltar faces greater political risks, but that nobody seems to care or know. Perhaps you should ask your Lords and masters about these.

    You will also recall that Hassans recently issued a simple statement saying that all their lawyers had acted properly at all times (I paraphrase). Perhaps ypu should write to Mr Chaim Levy and ask him what he thinks in detail, but that would require tangling with someone of weight in an open confrontation, perhaps not your bag.

    Kaelan mi arma, not everybody who shits on you is your enemy. I haven't a clue who you are as I have not lived in Gib for over 13 years. Try to be a little less of a torero and you may realise that not everyone is at your throat, and may even be with you on more than a few points.

    Robert, as regards the resources available to our lads I do not want to go into deatails because what I have is anecdotal, but it seems to chime with what your conclusion at 10:09.

    Now if you'll forgive me, I have to go to work.

  182. Marlene Hassan Nahon5 June 2011 at 11:56

    Anon 1:07

    You completely miss the point, worse still you are trying to put words into my mouth.

    My point (in case it wasn't obvious enough) is that this was an accident and that the responsible thing to do after such an incident is to learn from it and for us to come together, rather than attempt to politicise it.

    The real verguenza is not whether Kealan misbehaves or not, it is the inability of certain contributors of this blog to forget their own political agendas no matter what the issue is, to score political brownie points out of what is after all.....yes, thats right, an accident!

    Kealan, you are a little confused. You admit you don't know me personally, but yet you know for a fact that I am a GSD supporter. Well, I don't know who you are and I don't know whether to be flattered or spooked out by the fact that you seem to know my political allegiances so well. In any case they are irrelevant when my contribution was totally apolitical.

    Now for some facts:

    I've said it was an accident many times because you don't need a full investigation to come to that conclusion, unless you feel that this was done deliberately.

    I mean, welder, oil drum, sparks, explosion - you do the maths!

    Whether the accident has elements of negligence or other failings will surely become apparent when the serious politicians address their minds to this incident and try to learn the lessons that clearly will be there for all to see, once the investigation has run its course.

    However, I repeat, you do not need an investigation to come to the inescapable conclusion that this was..an accident.

    Whether the incident could be better dealt with, only time will tell, but in the meantime it seems to me that the Gibraltar emergency services did rather well in the circumstances. They managed to rescue the injured, and contain the fire within the localised area without too much disruption to the public. That the Spanish were contracted to help, is something which happens all over the world when disaster strikes - expert assistance is brought in from wherever in order to meet the needs of the particular emergency. I am glad that we have arrangements in place with Spain that transcend the usual mudslinging in favour of humanitarian requirements. Today, we got help from them; in the past our emergency services have helped them. This how modern democracies behave, and this type of cooperation is something which should be congratulated.

    Of course we would rather not have a local Spanish politician jump up and down about it and make noises about suing us, but I suppose that is expected from them, and perhaps only serves to highlight the similarities of those politicians regardless of nationality, who will never miss an opportunity to further their own political agendas by diversionary tactics in the hope that their respective electorates will not focus on their own political shortcomings.


    Marlene (who Kaelan knows so well despite us never having met)

  183. Robert@10.99

    I, for one, would have found it totally inappropriate for the Commissioner of Police to have commented on the availability of equipment and material resources in his statement. I am sure that the heads of the emergency services will soon have the chance to make their concerns known to the powers that be.

  184. Dennis

    Too little too late or have concerns been made known in the past and not acted upon? That is what needs to be investigated and made known publicly.

  185. Tyrone Duarte:

    Ms Hassan Nahon,

    You say: "Whether the accident has elements of negligence or other failings will surely become apparent when the serious politicians address their minds to this incident and try to learn the lessons that clearly will be there for all to see".

    Although I agree with your sentiments I have to disagrre with the above statement. This is not the politicians business. In the UK this would be HSE business and the politicians would do well to stand well away - all of them.

    The politicians would only become relevant if it was a matter of policy. And if this were the case then it is a Parliamentary issue, either in debate, or as part of an inquiry. In the case of the latter politicians are called as witnesses, not as the managers of any inquiry.

    I think it is important to distinguish as far as possible between the administrative and the political as far as possible.

    This is why I think that it is for Parliament to hold Mr Holliday to account, and then the electorate. In terms of the policies an administartive investigation may find the policies deficient, but would rarely ascribe individual blame on a minister - again, this is for the political, not the administartive process.

    Now I really must go!

  186. I think we need to be clear on the fact that accidents do not just happen they are “caused”…..

    In protecting major accidents hazards whether of an industrial or other types one can only go so far. In the case of the North Mole Installations they could perhaps have installed (may be these were installed I do not know!!) automatic gas and fire detection, flame arresters, automatic/remotely controlled medium and low expansion foam pourers, intrinsically safe equipment, lightning protection, product transfer systems, pressure release vents etc etc etc, the list is endless.

    After all these is installed the next level of protection would have been an electrified fence around the plant with a “whacking”” huge padlock at the gate, to stop anyone from entering the site, not even for work purposes. Irrespective of all protective measures, once you introduce the human factor (men, women and children) you’re introducing an almighty element of risk, despite safe working practices, hot work permits, risk assessments etc etc etc.

    What I’m trying to get at is that you cannot totally eliminate risk, what you do is reduce it to a level as low as reasonably practicable and then you PLAN. You plan for response in the event of all this going “pear shape”!!!!! This is where pre-planning, contingencies, resource identification, incident information management systems, command and control and all the other paraphernalia comes into play. Then you do 3 things, you EXERCISE; EXERCISE and EXERCISE.

    I’m disappointed to see the discussions being ushered into the political arena, where it will lose substance and every comment, criticism and remark would be seen as carrying a political dimension.

  187. Marlene I am not confused.

    This is Gibraltar it is a very small place. I don't know you well, not at all actually, but your choice of party does seem to be quite evident.

    I also happen to be a member of certain Facebook groups you also happen to be a member of (not the Daniel Feetham appreciation one though).

    We are now deviating from the subject at hand so shall leave it at that. :) Even though you never did respond to my initial query.

    As for these comments “Whether the incident could be better dealt with, only time will tell,” This is exactly what I meant and what Robert (I believe) attempted to imply.

    The manner in which you reacted to these implications (that maybe the incident was not an accident after all and could have been avoided), which you now agree with had me thinking rather suspiciously. Soy mal pensao que hago? : ) lololol

    I do though respect your opinion, especially as you post in your own name. :)

    Spookingly yours,


  188. Ms Hassan-Nahon
    You clearly state in your first post "After reading all the comments, i think its so sad, and such a waste of time to have to bear witness to all these 'conspiracy theories' and 'government plots' out of a simple accident."

    And yet no post in this blog refers to this not being an accident.

    Yo then go on to accuse us of " instead of pointing fingers and slagging off anyone and everyone involved."
    Yet nobody has 'slagged' off anybody other than those ultimately responsible for everybody's health & safety, you see, if this poor man dies, his family will not be content with a formal letter explaining accidents just happen, they will want to know why & how it could have been prevented, and why it wasn't!

    Then you go and politicise the event by having a go at the Spanish whom most of us have ignored because they are irrelevant to this situation. This isn't about them, Ms Hassan-Nahon, this is about us, and why we cannot go around the world telling them we are the 4th prosperous nation in the world, when we barely had enough foam to even start putting out the fire, and when it was down to lucky wind direction that a cruise liner wasn't damaged, or its passengers killed, as it sat alongside a welder on a tank.

    You end by telling us to "...grow up and be mature about this situation, stop looking for scapegoats and show some solidarity"

    Solidarity for whom, may I ask? The government? Or do we stand up for the firefighters and for the many other workers who risked their lives fighting a fire they were ill-equiped to deal with?

    Personally, I think we have grown up and have been very mature about this situation, looking at our internal workings and how they can be improved to ensure our people are looked after, instead of covering up the issue and deflecting interest on a mad Spaniard spouting rubbish which none of us have any time for!

    As you can see, in this kind of forum, Ms Hassan Nahon, nobody can put words in your mouth, instead all anybody has to do is 'copy' and 'paste'!

  189. Tyrone,

    Well said. A truly logical and valid point. Surely politicians will be at fault if the HSE issues put before them have been ignored. If they havnt then responsibilities falls under another group of professionals.

    Re: Kaelan....there is no shame to be a GSD supporter nor I presume being a PDP or GSLP. To accuse someone of being of a political persuasion as if it were a blemish on one's character is a peurile attitude to take. But reading many of your comments suggests to me (IMHO) that you only seem to "attack" without a firm grasp of the facts. You also try to rile your fellow bloggers with your bravado and courageous use of your name (as if that were important!)

    You know full well that your sniggering at others political view, persuasion, bias or whatever you want to call it, merely points to someone whose intent is merely to agitate your fellow bloggers whose political bias is not in consonance with your own. Mind you, you come across as an opportunistic mavarick with little political acumen to even to begin to be taken seriously now nor in the future.

    Before you accuse me of being another GSD sycophant, let me assure that I am old enough to have seen various political parties in Government and I have always gone for the ideas rather than a party and have never affiliated myself to any.

    I have grown to accept that local politics go in cycles, but one thing is certain Gibraltar has always had, IMHO, the best CM at the time when he has been needed.

    To make the point, Churchill who was revered during the war was finally ousted when he was no longer found suitable.

    Now for the Reforms....let the debate begin!!!

  190. If this communist Russia, Special K would be head of the commissars, dealing with those that don't share his view as all one party states deal with dissenters.

  191. Joe accidents do happen. Otherwise people like you would be out of a job. Just look at what happened in Wales. Marlene is right about that. The issue that you rightly draw attention to is whether we were prepared to deal with risks posed by accidents of this nature. But as you also point out, risk cannot be eliminated altogether and therefore neither can accidents.

  192. Commissars...the word brings back unwanted memories..

  193. Anon 14:00

    Good points :)

    Disciple X

    On the contrary it is I who state facts, Marlene was merely being speculative.


    There is a chance the incident could have been avoided.


    Gibraltar is not equipped to deal with such eventualities.


    Joe Bishop (qualified in the field) in his VOX interview states the following, (when asked, "Is Gib equipped to deal with such eventualities?")

    "I'm afraid not. They are lacking in weight of attach by way of resources, large volume pumps, large capacity remotely controlled ground monitors - water/foam and a strong Command and Control Platform to coordinate the inter-agency response."


    A person cannot state that an accident is just an accident and nothing more, when it has not been formally concluded to have been so. Only when a formal investigation (by a panel of qualified individuals) has been carried out and finalised can we come a relevant conclusion.


    Joe’s last posting further gives credence to such an assessment.


    I certainly do have a firm grasp of facts unlike others.


    I have never attempted to rally fellow bloggers on the courageous use of my name, 99% of them are anon bloggers. I hardly believe this would be a feasible approach.

    What I HAVE done is stated that I respect those who do post in their own name.

    What I HAVE done is reminded those who see fit to insult and ridicule me anonymously, that they are only allowed the privilege because they do so anonymously. Rather cowardly behavior in my opinion.

    As for these comments, deluded (maybe lol), striving to get recognised (Why would I?), opportunistic mavarick (sounds cool why not! lol), with little political acumen (state the obvious). Hope that helps! :)

    Anon 19:07

    And how is that different to how things work now? Ask Robert about the FSC fiasco anda :)

    Anon 19:13

    Eso you tell the expert with years of experience he is wrong!! Spot on!! lolololol


  194. Marlene Hassan Nahon5 June 2011 at 23:36

    Anon at 14.00

    I have just had a wonderful day out with my family and was curious to see how this blog ended.

    However for someone who doesn't have the balls to write in his own name your response struck me as a little touchy. Whats the matter, did you have a late night last night? LOL

    As for putting words into my mouth or cutting and pasting..hmmm thats a dangerous topic all on its own!

    As for you Kaelan, you are quite right, we haven't yet met at the 'Daniel Feetham Appreciation Society' page. Perhaps I will have more luck finding you at the political hopeful 'Norbert Borge Appreciation Society' page.... at least your stepfather knows his medicine and I'm sure he will have a positive contribution to make when he stands for election.

    Goodnight all.

    Marlene Hassan Nahon

  195. Ouch Kaelan I felt Marlene's kick in the goolies from Westview park! Ke palisa.

  196. Marlene.

    In my opinion completely disregarding all of anons 14:00 comments just because he chooses to post anonymously is just plain ignorant.

    I see you have opted to launch a personal assault rather than provide an adequate rebuttal. I guess one cannot argue with facts after all.

    I am indeed related to Mr. Borge something I have never attempted to conceal, unlike others who have not been as honest (hint hint).

    Anon 23:46

    Que vivo en Wes 2 yo cuidadinnnnnnnnn ;) haha

    Ps - What happend to me being an "opportunistic mavarick"???? lol


  197. A `comment` published in the Chronic suggests that the Spanish fire tug had been on standby for hours. If this is actually the case and given that Spain have had to deal with the environmental impact on their coastline can we really take offense to their having initiated a `denuncia` in the Courts ?

    It must have and should have been evident even before the incident that we do not have the adequate resources to deal with such an incident. Why then did several hours pass before we accepted the help offered.

  198. K,

    For what its worth we don't all have the luxury to publish our names. The use of one's name, does not in the least equate to being courageous in fact it merely points to the person, period. I don’t find it in the least impressive that you or others who have this luxury can come out and pontificate to the rest of us for keeping our name silent. To quote a line from Few Good Men… “You don't need a patch on your arm to have honor”.

    As regards respect. This is earned not because you pen your name at the end of facetious comments but rather with the comments you provide. There lies the respect that I seek!

    I am one for a good laugh, the occasional humorous comment (and yes a nice bottle of wine) but to dismiss a blogger with your typical one liners and chuckles and scoffs is quite childish and comes across as disrespectful. Mind you I am not here to correct anyone’s manners nor even attempt to do so but I for one do not like your blustering attitude. I don’t even like your comical veiled threat… “Que vivo en Wes 2 yo cuidadinnnnnnnnn ;) haha” …meaning what, that you can get physical. Surely not! Not a blogger of your standing and anyway the Marquess of Queensberry rules are very specific so lets discard that kind of talk.

    As regards the use of the word accident. Of course it is a valid word in the context of the tank explosion. Its definition is :

    “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.” (Unintentionally being the oprative word here).

    Could it have been avoidable, perhaps. Did we have the proper resources, apparently not. But I would suggest that rather than cherry pick what JB said, I suggest that that you read his blog comments where he intimates that there are other considerations when resources are allocated or requested. JB also mentions that accidents are caused. Of course that’s correct but again we are splitting hairs. The fact of the matter is that it happened. Were HSE issues in place. Probably. Were they adequate? We await the inquiry results. Had the emergency services trained enough? Again we await the inquiry results.

    Which brings me to the issue of Training, Training , Training!

    Soldiers train but this doesn’t prevent wars from happening and getting killed (unfortunately). The point I am trying to make is that everything in life is not black or white and the shades of grey exist and when situations go “pear shaped” - to paraphrase JB - they have to be solved in situ and then assessed and analysed so that current contingencies, training, etc. can be improved and the risk of accidents reduced.

    Regarding myself and my limited contribution via LW, is mainly due to my interest of the local political scene. My biggest concern when I read with interest this blog, is that I look for the substance, the ideas and the political solutions that are raised, to problems that we all face. Political affiliations and defending one’s patch is one thing, highlighting deficiencies another, critising actions yet another but political sniping is, IMHO, detrimental to the debate.

    Y con esto me callao por ahora.

  199. Ms Hassan Nahon, you insult me, you make fun of me, you even assume I am a man, and yet once again you fail to acknowledge you made a mistake and accused us posters of saying things we didn't.
    I don't write in my name for a very simple reason... because I don't want to. I post in this blog because if affords me this liberty, a liberty you were well aware of before you first posted yourself.
    So please don't use the 'you're anonymous therefore a coward' defence when you haven't got a clue how to defend your accusations, and instead think before you write in the first place.