Start of the fight : 08/08/2018
Free the oceans from oil drilling and protect the seafloors!
Surfrider Foundation Europe partnered with Alianza Mar Blava to fight 7 oil companies supporting a major research project named "Uncovering the Mediterranean salt giant", also known as MEDSALT-2. The alliance requested our support in communication mobilization and European law advice. Oil explorations and drilling are a direct threat to the Mediterranean coast, their users, and wildlife.
SUMMARY OF THE SITUATION
The action started in response to the proposal for a major study called MEDSALT-2. The project aims to study the Balearic Sea for oil resources, that before was too risky to attempt due to the geology of thick salt layers covering the potential hydrocarbons. To "uncover" these resources seismic, air guns are used by vessels producing 250db of sound to indicate seafloor characteristics. Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. Seismic airguns are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air through the water and miles into the seabed, which reflect back information about buried oil and gas deposits. As an example of impacts, turtles can suffer severe damage to their bodies, skull and shell.2
Surfrider Foundation Europe has joined Alianza Mar Blava recently, and our local Barcelona Chapter is ready to act as Keepers of the Coast to provide support to this action.
These projects affect the Balearic sea area between the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca and the southeast of Ibiza and Formentera. The scientific ship OGS Explora equipped with a system of compressed air guns and a hydrophone system3 would be used for the development of the oceanographic campaign.
“It is an opportunity for the scientific community to share objectives, data, expertise, and tools with industry since there is considerable interest in oil and gas exploration, and consequent hazards, targeting the deep salt deposits.” This phrase above summarizes the reasons for our action. The research project, "Uncovering the Mediterranean salt giant", also known as MEDSALT-2, poses a direct threat to the Balearic Sea.
The MESALT-2 project had already been processed in 2016 and did not get authorization from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA, today MAPAMA). In fact, after the allegations received against its realization, the MAGRAMA already recognized in its Resolution of July 29th, 2016 that the MEDSALT-2 project could produce significant adverse impacts on the environment, thus decided not to grant the proposal.
However, the Directorate General of European Economic Relations of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC) published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) of April 21st, 2018 an announcement to start public consultation regarding the proposal of using high pressure compressed air guns for exploration research. To date, this project will probably be halted, but new projects can still appear.
Our aim is to stop future oil explorations, prevent damage caused by air guns and prevent future oil spills by promoting strong legislation.