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Costa del Sol News - 21st October 2011

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.


Major ship bunkering centre for Los Barrios

Project will see investment of 130 million euros

By David Eade

THE MAYOR of Los Barrios, Jorge Romero, has announced that the multinational VTTI has signed an agreement with Endesa to create a liquid granule supply terminal on land adjacent to the electricity supplier. The facility will be within the boundaries of the municipality of Los Barrios with an investment of at least 130 million euros.

VTTI is 50 per cent owned by the Vitol group, one of the major operators in the world in the energy market. The other major share in the company lies with MISC, a Malaysian transport company. The terminal will have a capacity of around 550,000 cubic metres and it is waiting for an environmental licence from the government plus the agreement of the Autoridad Portuaria Bahía de Algeciras.

The terminal will pose competition to Gibraltar's vessel bunkering operations, providing an efficient, relatively clean alternative. The terminal will also use a pipeline to connect the VTTI installations with the Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH) in Algeciras port.

The mayor of Los Barrios, Jorge Romero, says 500 jobs will be created in the construction process with 200 employed directly and indirectly once the terminal is operating.


Was raid on Saudi palace an inside job?

Thieves carried 350-kilo safe out the front door undetected

By David Eade

INVESTIGATIONS continue into the August robbery at the Marbella palace of Saudi prince Salman Bin Abdelaziz, and circumstances surrounding the case have led police and the Spanish media to speculate that it may have been an inside job.

The early morning raid took place on August 11 and normally the prince and his entourage could be expected to be in residence. However this year Ramadan coincided with the holiday month so the family had returned early to Saudi Arabia.

The thieves removed a safe weighing 350 kilos. The security cameras were turned off. The internal alarm system was not activated. The gang left the palace grounds in a vehicle using the main entrance without attracting attention.

The report to the police says the thieves made off with half a million euros worth of jewellery, luxury watches and cash. Police sources have made it known they believe somebody close to the Saudi prince may have been involved in the robbery.

The police were not called till 10am on the morning of the robbery and arrived in force around 11am. They found the thieves had used a garden ladder to gain entry to a second floor office where the safe was kept. They forced their entry into other rooms to take valuables then made off with the 350-kilo safe, which measures one metre by 70 centimetres - it appears they carried it out via the front door.

There were two security guards at the palace from a private company. One is stationed by the entrance the other patrols the buildings and grounds but it is understood they saw nothing.


Fuengirola opens new riverside park

Town hall plans to create a kayaking and rowing school at the site

By David Eade

ON Saturday Fuengirola's new riverside park opened to the public, becoming the first of its kind in the province, according to local officials.

The 1.2 million-euro project - financed with Plan Qualifica tourism infrastructure funds - has seen the creation of green space on both banks along a 520-metre stretch starting at the mouth of the river. A second phase will extend the park a further 330 metres upriver.

The town hall said thousands of people turned up for the grand opening over the weekend. There is something to offer to every age group including table tennis, petanca, basketball, children's zones, a cycle track and outdoor exercise equipment.

The river has been made navigable so small sporting craft such as canoes and kayaks can take to the water. The mayor of Fuengirola, Esperanza Oña, announced that the town hall is working on a plan to launch a kayaking and rowing school at the site.


DRIVERS' DELIGHT

Traffic relief as Málaga ring road and new toll motorway launch

By Dave Jamieson

TWO major highway projects expected to significantly improve traffic in the congested hub around Málaga city are set to open.

The western half of Málaga's northern ring road and the new toll motorway towards Antequera will both be in use next week. The ring road will open next Thursday, October 27, and the new AP46 autopista will open the following day.

The eastern half of the new Málaga ring road, from the A7 at La Virreina to the A357 Guadalhorce motorway, has been open for almost a year. The completion of the western half will extend this to a new junction at the Torremolinos Palacio de Congresos convention centre, where it will rejoin the existing A7 road. This means that through traffic will be able to bypass the city centre of Málaga completely with a quick, 12-minute journey.

The 21.3-kilometre city ring road has taken five years to build and has cost 339 million euros. The new western stretch includes a 1.25-kilometre tunnel and an 840-metre-high viaduct over the Guadalhorce river.

The new AP46 toll road running from Málaga towards Antequera departs from new ring road. It runs north for 25 kilometres, includes 18 viaducts and three tunnels, and has cost 400 million euros to build. Construction of the road, intended to relieve chronic congestion on the existing A45 motorway, began in 2007 but was suspended for a year as a result of financing problems.


Málaga man detained for assault on teenager

13-year-old girl and her grandmother were injured in the attack

By Dave Jamieson

A 28-YEAR-OLD Málaga man has been detained in Paris on suspicion of being responsible for a vicious attack on a 13-year-old girl and her grandmother in Sevilla two months ago.

The teenager was rushed into an Intensive Care Unit and required surgery after the incident, while her grandmother, who tried to defend her, had both wrists broken and suffered bruising.

The man, named as José Antonio García Rodríguez, is alleged to have launched the attack on the morning of Sunday August 28 in Utrera, 30 kilometres south-east of Sevilla, where the girl and her family live. She had taken the rubbish out when she was surprised by a young man who attacked her with a large stone. Her grandmother came to her defence and was also injured before the youth returned to striking the girl. He fled when surprised by neighbours who later told police that he had been seen loitering around the house the previous night.

Investigators say the teenage girl and the suspect came into contact with one another through a social networking site and that she had been seen with him on a couple of occasions. However, when she eventually rejected him, he turned violent and was later given a distancing order from the girl.


World's first 24-hour solar plant launched in Sevilla

Gemasolar plant stores energy in molten salt to produce electricity even after sun goes down

By Oliver McIntyre

OFFICIALS last week launched a pioneering solar power plant in Sevilla, the first of its kind capable of harnessing the sun's power and converting it to energy even during the night.

Roads were sealed off on Tuesday as at least three police raids swept into operation at the town hall, municipal offices and the homes of those involved after more than a year's investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor Valentín Bueno.

Spain's King Juan Carlos, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Zayed al Nahyan and a host of central, regional and local officials were on hand for the official inauguration of the Gemasolar plant in Fuentes de Andalucía, built by Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Spanish engineering firm Sener and the Abu Dhabi state company Masdar.

It is the first commercial plant in the world to use molten salt thermal storage in a central tower surrounded by a field of heliostat panels.

The 2,650 heliostat mirrors shift position every 20 seconds to follow the sun and reflect its light toward the top of the 140-metre-high central tower - which incidentally is now the tallest structure in Andalucía.

The reflected sunlight heats up the stored salt to temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Celsius, producing high-pressure steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity. The salt's capacity to store the heat allows it to keep producing electricity for some 15 hours with no sunlight, meaning it can continue supply energy to the grid overnight or in cloudy weather.


The gas man conneth

Vulnerable householders are receiving phone calls advising of inspection

By Oliver McIntyre

IN A NEW twist on a chronic problem, bogus gas inspectors in Nerja have found a new way of pressurising vulnerable householders. The town hall reported last week that instead of simply knocking on front doors, they are now telephoning ahead.

The presence of confidence tricksters posing as officials from a gas company has been a major headache in the town, and elsewhere, for years.

They look professional, can produce convincing identification and paperwork and relieve unsuspecting home owners of many hundreds of euros every year after finding faults which have mysteriously appeared in their gas appliances.

Until now, the bogus inspector would arrive at the front door and insist on inspecting the house's gas appliances after convincing the owner that this is a legal requirement.

Now, a number of people have told the town hall that they have received a phone call, claiming to be from a gas provider, advising that they are due for an inspection.


Coín claws itself out of financial abyss

The town hall's economic situation had become so bad that last month Endesa cut off the electricity supply to certain council facilities due to unpaid debts

By Oliver McIntyre

COÍN town hall, which had entered a dangerous downward financial spiral when it lost its monthly funding from the central government due to debts to the tax office and social security, last week managed to make a 420,000-euro payment on the tax debt, which should get its funding reinstated.

Local officials, noting that mayor Fernando Fernández has also negotiated a payment plan for the debts to both agencies, said the measures have "restored, to a certain extent, the normal financial functioning of the town hall".

The town hall's economic situation had become so bad that it was unable to pay its workers their full salary for August, paying them just 400 euros each until it could secure additional funds. Last month Endesa cut off the power to certain municipal facilities due to unpaid debts to the electric company.