Photos: Puertos de Tenerife.
Updated 21 November: The first oil rig has arrived at Granadilla to initiate the megaport’s works. The rig, West Leo, came in from Santa Cruz this morning, and Puertos de Tenerife said that its arrival signalled a new era of activities in Tenerife’s harbours, one that will bring huge economic benefits for the island.
Updated 4 November 2017: This post has been eight years in the making, and its subject matter has occupied many years more than that. It has seen court action and environmental protests about underwater grasses and overground beetles, a stand-off about vested and conflicting financial and political interests, and even a debate over the very nature of “progress” itself, but finally, at long last, the Granadilla megaport works are finished.
Puertos de Tenerife say that the project was officially signed off in a formal ceremony yesterday morning with the Ministerio de Fomento. The port is now open, and will progressively become a full complement to Santa Cruz docks, increasingly so as the finishing works on the second section of the Ribera Quay will provide a further 160m of docking space. In total, the works have cost just over €145m, €67m of which has come from the EU Cohesion Fund.
Yesterday’s opening ceremony was attended by the president of the Santa Cruz Ports Authority, former Tenerife president Ricardo Melchior, who said that the new port was already organizing practical and mooring logistics, and contracting personnel, etc., to be able to service Granadilla’s first berths. These are now confirmed to include oil rigs undergoing repair and maintenance, adding to the numbers already regularly seen in Santa Cruz itself.
Updated 27 July 2013: And now the money is in place too. The Tenerife Ports Authority confirmed yesterday that the European Commission has approved the money, some €67m representing 27.5 per cent of the cost of the project. €5m has already been advanced, and the rest will be here later this year. Approval was granted on Tuesday 24th, and there is now nothing in the way – not financial, environmental, or legal – of the megaport.
Updated 28 February 2012: The Canarian High Court has rejected the legal proceedings brought by the Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos de la Naturaleza (ATAN) against the megaport. The action was started in April 2005, and since that time works have progressed considerably, with visible progress now in the construction of the new port’s dike.
The judgment, in rejecting the ecologists’ arguments, makes it clear that whilst environmental issues must be given consideration, progress must not be resisted on principle. Environmental values, said the Court, must be protected, but they are not absolute values. There are others, including economic progress.
Updated 1 July 2010: The president of the Granadilla Partido Popular (PP – conservatives), Esteban González, has said that the works on the Granadilla megaport could recommence next week. The party leader, who is the Ayuntamient’s economy councillor, said that the Ports Authority had already instructed the industrial estate council to that effect. Sr González said the works were now just awaiting legal confirmation that the newly passed reclassified list of protected species had unblocked the suspension of works. C24H
Updated 22 May 2010: After the court action in which the port was paralyzed because of the sebadales’ classification as an endangered species, the Canarian Government has recategorized the underwater grasses in order to remove them from the list which gave them protected status. Now, the new list has been approved, and the sebadales have been reclassified as “species of general interest for Canarian ecosystems” instead of “endangered”.
Environmentalists are outraged, because the sebadales themselves are unchanged, merely their status in the list, but their new listing means they no longer have ultimate protection, and so the port can go ahead once again. The Santa Cruz Ports Authority has said that once the new law is published the megaport plans will be updated for new environmental requirements and work will begin once more. LO
Updated 18 June 2009: The Canarian Government has said that even though it disagrees with Monday’s judgement (yesterday’s post, shown immediately below) concerning the sebadales, it will comply with the ruling. It intends to appeal to Spain’s national High Court on the grounds that the Port is economically essential for Tenerife. Canarias24Horas
Original post 17 June 2009: The Canarian High Court has confirmed the halt to the construction of the Granadilla megaport and thrown out the appeal lodged by the regional Government, the Santa Cruz Port Authority, and Transportista de Gas de Canarias S.A. The judgement, given on Monday, ratifies the earlier ruling made in March which suspended the Government’s removal of rare underwater grasses from the list of protected marine species. Many environmentalists had viewed this attempt to unclassify the grasses, known as sebadales, as a disgraceful sleight of hand to push through the construction of the port in a highly sensitive environmental area and were delighted with the Court’s verdict. The Government had appeared confident of winning its appeal, but the High Court has once again found in the Greens’ favour, saying that it was aware of the socio-economic consequences of its judgement, but that it had a duty to uphold the interests of the ecosystem in the face of irreversible and incalculable environmental damage. Where this leaves the megaport now, heaven knows. Canarias24Horas