Underwater Cable torn – Danger for Marine Mammals in the Strait of Gibraltar

by firmm Team

Text: Sebastian Fritz

At least one high voltage underwater-cable, that transports electricity through the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa to Fardioua, has torn just off the coast of Morocco. Inside this 27 km long cable there is highly poisonous "dielectric oil", which could have leaked.

The incident occurred already mid-October 2016, but the information was withheld by the Spanish energy-concern REE. Only after being under pressure from the local environmental organization AGADEN, whose activists observed the cable ship „Aethra CVS“off the coast, they admitted mid-December, after two months, that it came to the rupture of the cable.

Tarifas fishermen blocked spontaneously the harbour on December 19th 2016, to express their protest and anxiety. According to Onlinediario Tarifaaldia fishermen already complain about oil-smeared equipment. They ask for compensation and transparency of the electricity corporation.

For the marine mammals a leakage of poisonous oil has devastating consequences. " We are sure that also the marine mammals, all Pilot Whales and Dolphins, that are resident to the Strait of Gibraltar, are concerned", confirms Katharina Heyer. We follow the current development with big concern."

To which extent the Pilot Whales, who are hunting in the depth of the Strait of Gibraltar and migrating whales like Finwhales and Spermwhales are concerned, will show. The politics of secrecy of REE encourages indeed the worst fears.

More information concerning the fishermen’s protests (in Spanish) under:    


More information about the history of the struggle against the underwater high-voltage cable (in Spanish):



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