Despite the fact that the overload of Syrian chemical weapons in the Italian port of Gioia Tauro caused a lot of discontent and concern among the population, local workers hope that it will be able to positively affect the work of the largest port in the Mediterranean Sea.
About 560 tons of hazardous chemicals arrived at their destination a few days ago and are now being thoroughly tested. It is expected that near the end of the month containers will be loaded onto an American ship, after which experts will conduct an operation to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons in international waters.
Meanwhile, local residents do not hide their dissatisfaction with the choice of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). A member of the SUL trade association, Carmelo Cozza, confirmed that the entire population of the small nearby village of San Ferdinando was strongly opposed to the operation in the port of Joya Tauro.
“The schools are very close!” Kotstsa was indignant and continued: “We have not been officially provided with all the information on the composition of the transported substances, nor have we been introduced to the emergency plan of action and evacuation.”
Local authorities claim that all the dangerous substances contained in Syria's chemical weapons had previously been at the port of Joya Tauro and did not cause any accidents. Domenico Bagala, the head of the terminal on whose territory the transshipment is planned, told reporters that all the details regarding the upcoming operation are not yet known. It is only assumed that it will take no more than 24 hours.
“We have yet to find out how everything will happen,” the head of the terminal explained.
Meanwhile, the representative of another trade association, Salvatore Laroca, suggested that the discontent and panic among the local population was caused by the initially incorrect organization of the operation for reloading chemical weapons. Larocca also said that the planned transfer of 60 containers of hazardous substances could have a positive effect on the reputation of the port, which is currently going through hard times.
“This is a prestigious operation. And it’s good that the dictator agreed to transfer the type of weapon that killed so many people. ”
Built twenty years ago, Joya Tauro is now in financial decline, because it cannot compete properly with ports located in neighboring countries. We are talking about modern Piraeus in Greece and the port of Said in Egypt, which, in addition to everything else, levy much lower taxes than the Calabrian port.
“Since 2011, Joya Tauro has become bogged down in a crisis, and more than 400 of his workers have been sent on indefinite leave,” says Kotstsa, mentioning that the port is served by about 1300 people. “The only plus point of this transshipment operation is that we talked about the port again.”
Earlier, Italian media have repeatedly shared data from “reliable sources” regarding drug shipments on the territory of Joya Tauro. According to journalists, numerous mafia clans and groups here often illegally unload entire containers of prohibited substances intended for subsequent sale.
However, Bagala denies all the rumors: “Since Joya Tuaro serves about a third of all ships arriving in the country, we have to deal with a huge number of sealed containers. But despite the fact that we are in a difficult financial situation, we have all the necessary modern means of verification and security, such as infrared tracking systems and internal security. ”