Saturday, July 09, 2005

Gibraltar Security tightens in London bombings aftermath

Armed police at the frontier and other key points, increased searches on persons and vehicles entering Gibraltar were amongst measures evident yesterday in the wake of Thursday’s terrorist attack on London.

Although officials have not yet formally increased the state of alert on the Rock, Gibraltar’s security chiefs – military and civilian - held an emergency meeting yesterday morning to consider what action should be taken.

Officials have been asking the public to remain vigilant. Sensitivities to increased risk were high in the region as a whole.

The container terminal in the port of Algeciras was evacuated yesterday following a bomb scare just before midday. Port sources in Spain told the Chronicle that a caller had phoned the 112 emergency number and warned of an explosive device in the terminal, which is operated by the Danish AP Moller group to handle ships owned by its subsidiary company Maersk.

Cargo operations on five vessels at the port had to be stopped while officers from the Guardia Civil and Spain’s bomb disposal service combed the area. They found nothing suspicious and the terminal was declared safe at around 2pm.

Security in Spanish ports, as in other key installations across the country, is currently high following the terrorist attacks in London last Thursday.

In Algeciras and Ceuta, the task is further complicated because the annual migration of Europe-based north African workers heading home for the summer holidays. Oficials have to find a fine balance between maintaining tight security and ensuring the smooth flow of passengers and cars.

Since the start of this year’s Operación Paso del Estrecho last June 15, some 250,000 people and 56,000 vehicles have crossed to north Africa from the four Spanish ports involved in the operation. Most of those have taken ferries from Algeciras.

Related Links, Advice and Latest News

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice
UK Home Office website
Metropolitan Police London website
DirectGov website
BBC News - London Bombings - Latest News Updates

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