GONHS: Pleased With New Flame Outcome

Last week the Gibraltar Government announced that works on the wreck of the Panamanian cargo ship 'MV New Flame' have been completed: Wreck remains will stay on the seabed, and Government has secured £5.5m compensation which it intends to use to protect and enhance the environment. Our sister charity - like ourselves - is very pleased with the outcome.

Both the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) and the Helping Hand Trust were concerned that a removal of the remaining wreckage - which already had been made save for shipping - would significantly damage the marine wildlife. More than two years after its sinking this would have disturbed the inhabitants of the seabed, while leaving it where it is, the wreck will even enhance the biodiversity.

Like the Helping Hand Trust our sister charity is also looking forward to see the £5.5m compensation being invested in the enhancement and protection of the environment. The chairman of the Helping Hand Trust, Dr Eric Shaw, had already been interviewed about the issue last week by the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation. Eric said, in his opinion, the money "should be spent where none has been used before". Investments in the marine environment should overlap with investments in the terrestrial environment, as both are so very much interlinked.

GONHS: Press Release In Full Length

The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) has welcome the final outcome of the New Flame matter.

GONHS has worked with the Government at all stages related to this issue, and fully supports the way the matter has been handled. While regretting the accident when it occurred, and supporting measures to avert this type of incident in the future, it is pleased with the prompt manner in which the wreck was made environmentally safe.

GONHS itself was of the opinion that the remaining wreckage, once made safe for shipping, should remain on the seabed, as removing it would cause more damage, considering also that it is already colonised by a rich diversity of marine life.

It is pleased that the marine consultants, Polaris, were also of this opinion.

The granting of £5.5 million in compensation is a significant achievement in itself, and GONHS looks forward to seeing it being used in enhancing Gibraltar’s natural environment.