NEARLY four months after the sinking of the fuel tanker Don Pedro in the coastal waters off Ibiza, the regional Interior minister, Maria Angeles Leciñena announced yesterday that she will have sufficient information by the end of the month to make a decision on whether the vessel can be refloated or whether it should remain in situ.
Meanwhile, the minister gave assurances that investigations on the stricken tanker are being made by divers on the part of the central government Environment ministry. It is lying at 45 metres underneath the surface and that no contaminating fuel remains within her hull.
Leciñena indicated that the first phase of the decontamination programme would finish this week and that a second phase would involve the removal of any polluting objects. Technicians, she affirmed, after each dive are building a portfolio of information which will be presented to experts for a final decision at the end of the month. The minister also said what eventually happens to the Don Pedro will be an all-party affair with a final meeting thrown open to ecology groups as well as members of the Opposition to deliberate on the technical report.
There are a number of options open to us, said Leciñena. We are talking about a boat that is 25-years-old, a vessel that has undergone extensive work and which now has a gaping hole in the hull due to salvagers extracting her fuel content.
What we're looking for is a decision which will have the least impact on the environment, said the minister.
The sinking of the Don Pedro could not have come at a worse time for Ibiza at the height of the tourist season this summer. Local authorities succeeded in minimising the impact.