The Italian sabotage of the strategic ports of Trieste and Koper
Analysis by Paolo G. Parovel
On 30 May 2016 the Italian Ministry of the Environment of the Renzi Government issued and published on its official website a decree that allows the realization of a LNG terminal of multinational company Gas Natural in the port of Trieste (LINK).
Italian politicians and press, who in Trieste are busy with the election of a new mayor, remained silent on that until 11 June, when they attempted to deny it claiming that the Ministry of Economic Development declared “during a talk” that the project is «not in the agenda» of the Renzi government.
The reason for so much political-mediatic silence and contradictions is that the main purpose of that LNG terminal is not natural gas fuelling.
The operations to divert traffic routes
That LNG terminal is one of the main operations with which Italian politicians are attempting to suffocate the international Free Port of the Free Territory of Trieste, as well as to sabotage the nearby port of Slovenia, Koper, in order to divert all the future railroad Baltic-Adriatic traffics to the ports of Southern Italy, under the strict control of the powerful Italian mafias (LINK).
To absorb new traffics, the international Free Port of Trieste needs to expand quickly, activating to the maximum the Northern Free Port (namely said the “old port”) with a new logistical platform (LINK) and other facilities, as well as to increase the surface of the Southern Free Port (namely said the “new port”) eliminating the Ironworks of Servola (LINK to the Italian project), which is a private, polluting industrial plant, and furnishing the Teseco area, where there is the former Aquila-Total refinery (LINK to the Italian projects).
The project of the three needed interventions are ready and can be realized since years, but Italian politicians prevent that, trying to eliminate the Northern Free Port with an international fraud (LINK), maintaining with public funding the private Ironworks (LINK to a dedicated article, in Italian), and sabotaging the Southern Free Port by building the LNG terminal between the Teseco and the SIOT terminal of the TAL-Transalpine Ölleitung (pipeline).
Strategic damages and risks
The damages and risks caused by the LNG terminal are inacceptable for both the civil population and strategic safety of the region. Other than fire risk, the LNG shore tanks, and gas carriers themselves, would actually constitute a first-level, indefensible target for terrorists, in the urban tissue, and also next to industrial plants the work with oil and chemicals that would multiply the effect of an attack.
The passage of gas carriers would also cause a safety suspension of all other ships in the Southern Free Port and in the nearby port of Koper (Slovenia), blocking also the oil tankers that apply Southern Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic through the TAL. The system that heats the LNG would cause also severe damages to the maritime environment.
For those reasons, both the majority of the people of the present-day Free Territory of Trieste and the bordering Republic of Slovenia are opposing the construction of the LNG terminal also by legal actions and complaints to the European Union, while multinational company Gas Natural tries to influence Italian politicians by lobbying and by legal pressing.
International violations and the politicians involved
The operations to sabotage the international Free Port of the Free Territory of Trieste are all illegal, because they breach the norms, in force, of the Treaty of Peace with Italy of 10 February 1947 concerning the sovereignty of the Free Territory, regulating its Free Port, forbidding to divert its traffics, establishing the rights of other States over the area, but also the specific obligations of the Provisional Regime of Government of the Free Territory of Trieste, which is still a duty sub-delegated to the Italian Government (not to the Italian State) under the Memorandum of Understanding of London of 5 October 1954 (LINK).
Since 2012-2013, the operations to divert the freight traffic of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor are lead by the ruling party in Italy, the PD, with premier Matteo Renzi, and with other local and national heads: Debora Serracchiani, Ettore Rosato, Francesco Russo and Roberto Cosolini, who do redundantly and with no shame impose the operations against the Northern Free Port and to support the Ironworks.
As for the LNG terminal, however, the PD and its head adopted a strategy that does not directly expose them, because the technical, strategic and environmental risks involved are much more evident, and the oppositions are stronger.
The double game of Italian politicians
The Italian politicians involved reacted with double game: in order to reassure the citizens of the present-day Free Territory and of Slovenia, they officially declare to be against the LNG terminal, or at least respectful of the will of the people (as said Renzi on 28 May, in Trieste), while at the same time they try to bypass all oppositions by having the LNG terminal imposed by other authorities as a national or European project of strategic interest – which it is not.
To make this double game easier, those politicians defamed and substituted with their commissar, Zeno D’Agostino, the President of the Port Authority of Trieste, Marina Monassi, who defended the Free Port, they forced the Italian ministry of Infrastructures and Transportations, Maurizio Lupi, to resign from his office because he defended Monassi, as well as hiding to public opinion in Trieste that the District Anti-Mafia Directorate of Palermo had placed under judicial administration the Italian departments of Gas Natural (on this matter, there is also a dossier published in 2010 by Roberto Giurastante, in his book “Tracks of Legality” available at this LINK).
Gas Natural and Roberto Cosolini did also try to silence our journalistic investigations with unfounded complaints, which were carried out by the Italian magistracy in Trieste, while our documented complaints on the same subjects are closed without investigations. Allowing, by this mean, the politicians involved to continue their double game made of official declarations against the LNG terminal and concrete operations to force it.
The free development of international traffics on the Baltic-Adriatic and Transsiberian railroad routes through the Eastern Adriatic ports of Trieste (international free port of the Free Territory), Koper (Slovenia) and Rijeka (Croatia) is a primary, non-substitutable factor for the economic, thus political stabilization of South-Eastern Europe.
Allowing the diversion of those traffic routes to the ports of Southern Italy would be a very serious strategic mistake, because that would not only weaken the political-economic stability of South-Eastern Europe, it would condition those routes to the influence of one only State, Italy, which is objectively unreliable due to institutional-political corruption and by the mafias, both being extraordinary serious and irremediable problems.
This corruption does also include the weak point of the whole political move to divert the traffic routes: the fact that the operation is based on the simulation that the present-day Free Territory of Trieste and its international Free Port are under the sovereignty of the State of Italy, which can do what it wants with both.
Therefore, to solve this problem it might be enough reminding the Italian Government that it can and must exercise over Trieste exclusively the rights and duties established with the mandate of temporary civil administration that was sub-entrusted to it in 1954 by the Governments of the United States and of the United Kingdom, on behalf of the UN Security Council.
© 13 giugno 2016