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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Bar pilots see accident risk in Setúbal port if dredging as planned

Setúbal, Portugal, Nov. 7 (LUSA) - A bar pilot based at the Portuguese port of Setúbal has warned of the risk of accidents and large ships being stranded in the Sado estuary if there is no change in the dredging plans in place to improve access to the docks.
"The bar pilots have never been consulted” by the APSS, administration of the ports of Setúbal and Sesimbra, on the changes, said José Guia, who has been in the profession for 27 years, at the first public session on improvements planned for the port of Setúbal, which took place in the APSS auditorium and was attended by over 100 people.
"I have warned [the port administration] of the risk of accidents with large ships, of about 300 metres," said Guia, reiterating that bar pilots should have been consulted in the process, because they are the ones who have the responsibility of avoiding accidents.
For its part, bivalve fishing association Bivalmar made the criticism that the environmental impact study on the proposed dredging did not contain a single line on the possible consequences for the 300 fishing vessels and more than 600 people who depend on the shellfish banks, and who may be badly affected by the deposit of dredged material.
According to Carlos Pratas of Bivalmar, the site initially planned to dump the material will turn the shellfish banks into a cemetery, as the national metereological and maritime organisation IPMA has recognised.
"What worries us is that we have not yet glimpsed any solution, although we acknowledge that the president of the APSS, Lídia Sequeira, is making an effort to seek a consensus and avoid the deposition of dredging material in the sandbank area, which we consider an environmental crime," said Pratas.
The session also saw several other criticisms expressed of the APSS strategy of improving maritime accessibility to the port, above all fears of the environmental impact.
Sequeira said that the APSS had met all legal requirements to safeguard environmental issues, and warned of the need to modernise the port.
"Today, those who do not modernise, disappear," she said, arguing that this is the only way for ports to attract new industries and develop the surrounding region.
The dredging plan to enlarge and deepen the navigation channel of the port of Setúbal foresees the removal of about 6.5 million cubic metres of sand from the estuary.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2018-11-08 08:10:40


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