By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearic security forces, in association with their counterparts in Catalonia and Valencia, are doing everything possible to ensure maximum security. The Balearic government representative, Ramón Socías, yesterday held talks with his opposite numbers from Catalonia and Valencia, Joan Rangel Tarres and Antonio Bernabé García respectively, in Palma to assess how the latest set of port security measures introduced on July 1 are being implemented. As part of Spain's new counter-terrorism efforts, airport-style security measures were introduced at all Spanish ports at the start of the month. Socias said yesterday that to ensure the very maximum levels of security, the security forces in the Balearics, Valencia and Catalonia are working very closely together in association with port police and customs to combat terrorism as part of a new tri-party security operation. Socias admitted yesterday that it is “difficult” to prevent possible attacks by Islamic terrorists in the Mediterranean but he gave his assurance that all government departments and security services are fully committed to the fight against terrorism. “They are all fully prepared to minimise the effects in the event of an incident,” he said.
The new port security measures are not only aimed at fighting terrorism but also drug trafficking with agents keeping a close watch on vehicles and passengers. Socias said that increasing port security has not been too complicated although improving security measures in ports very close to towns, like Ibiza and Mahon, is proving somewhat more complicated. This is why they are no longer open to the public.
However, once the new security facilities are fully in place, Socias said the close co-operation between the various security forces and the port authority is going to be vital. Therefore police, Guardia Civil and Balearic Port Authority chiefs were also present at yesterday's meeting.
Joan Rangel Tarres, the central government delegate to Catalonia, explained that strict security measures are needed in the Balearics, Catalonia and Valencia because of the heavy flow of passenger traffic and merchant shipping. The security plan is the first of its kind in Spain and Valencia's Antonio Bernabé García said yesteday that ferry passengers “have nothing to fear” because of the huge effort being made by the three regions to protect sea passengers and ships. Last night, Socías, Rangel and Bernabé flew to Madrid to present the pioneering security plan to Spain's other autonomous regions and the deputy-Prime Minister María Teresa Fernández. At this time of year, Majorca is protected by a ring of steel because of the millions of holidaymakers who come here every summer and the Spanish royal family's presence on the island. Indeed all the popular Spanish holiday resorts and tourist destinations are on alert to combat domestic and international terrorism.


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