Looking to bring both Panamanian and Ex-Pat attention to the shady deals that the powers that be engage in that hurt the environment. Far too close in proximity to the Smithsonian. “JB”
An area of reefs and corals with an area of up to 31 hectares in the Columbus Sea, and close to the Punta Galeta laboratory of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, is about to become a quiet or secret fuel dispatch area .
The issue has just begun to generate controversy and rejection because two companies now claim the concession over the same area, to develop an activity that would jeopardize the entire area of wide natural wealth.
The past administration of the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP) granted, in a reserved manner, two concessions that allow the use of up to 31 hectares of sea in an environmentally sensitive area and that would put at risk the marine laboratory of Punta Galeta in Colón, operated by the Smithsonian.
This newspaper confirmed that the Smithsonian was never informed of this concession that would put the area of study or marine laboratory at risk.
The concession is based on the rights of use of the sea in the so-called Canal de Bahía Las Minas to develop the activity of the transfer of fuel from ship to ship, in an area that was already affected years ago by a fuel spill in the old refinery .
It was learned that the new authorities of the AMP have received the complaint of two companies that fight for the use of that area of the sea, without taking into account the opinion of environmental groups.
One of the groups that demands respect for its non-endorsed concession is Payardi Terminal Company, a company formed by the Dutch group Vopak and the American Chevron, which seeks to develop the activity of ship-to-ship fuel dispatch in this sea area known as the Las Minas Bay Canal.
Payardi Terminal Company claims to the AMP 16 hectares plus 7,922 meters of sea surface and two docks with three berthing positions, putting forward its contract No. A-2002-2015, signed in the management of Jorge Barakat.
The other company that claims the same area is the Parque Energético de Río Alejandro SA (PERA), which would be claiming a concession of 31 hectares, including the sea area that Payardi also claims.
Therefore, in recent days the consortium of Vopak and Chevron lashed out against PERA asking the AMP to conduct studies and queries on safety and navigability guidelines in the Las Minas Bay canal, revealed a source from the maritime sector that has had access to Case documentation.
The Star of Panama confirmed that neither of the two concessions has been endorsed by the Comptroller, according to one of the files with No. 7745949.
In his market studies, Payardi states that the bunkering business of the Atlantic side of Panama is very limited and based on small deliveries of fuel. Contrary to the growth of the Pacific, which focuses on large deliveries of Neopanamax, says Payardi.
The company says that is because on the Atlantic side there is no area for safe and reliable bunker delivery.
Payardi estimates that this project could serve 413 neopanamax searches and dispatch 6 million barrels of fuel, which puts in perspective the risk that this area of marine diversity would run.
Experts in the maritime area affirm that the dispatch of fuel at sea has a risk, regardless of the area studied; However, he pointed out that in this case the risks increase because the activity of bunkering outside the protection of the breakwater that is at the entrance of the Panama Canal would be developed and that somehow protects the ships that already carry out the fuel dispatch , the ports and other maritime activities that occur in Colon.