The central government announced this Sunday that it is waiting for the Xunta “exercise your jurisdiction” and declare emergency level 2 (maintains 1, the minimum, for the moment) in order to be able provide you with “effective support” in collection and cleaning of the pellets with plastic balls that have reached the Galician coast.

In a statement, the Government recalls that it has offered the Xunta its “collaboration” regarding the arrival of the pellets “from a spirit of cooperation, loyalty and mutual respect“. An example of this disposition, he noted, is the call this Sunday from the vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, to the president of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda.

The Government confirms that in that contact it offered the support of the Government of Spain in the cleaning and restoration work of the affected areas. But he points out that, for this to be effective and the central Executive to be able to mobilize state resources, it is necessary for the Xunta to “activate the emergency level 2, intended for especially vulnerable emergencies” and that he requests it “expressly.” The next level, level 3, is used in situations of national interest.

At the moment, the emergency decreed by the Galician authorities is level 1.

Reviews of Rueda

Waiting for any step from the Xunta, and “out of responsibility for preventing any scenario”, the Government maintains that its means are “prepared to intervene as soon as the autonomous government requires it.”

For his part, the Galician president, Alfonso Rueda, criticized this Monday “lack of information” on the part of the Executive and maintains that the situation is being used electorally by the left.

At an informative breakfast organized by Europa Press in Madrid, in which he was presented by his predecessor in the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Rueda said he did not have precise information about the pollution arriving on Galician beaches from containers of the ship ‘Toconao’ , but has assured that “everything that reaches the beaches will be collected. We will provide the necessary means and whoever wants to help should help and whoever doesn’t should continue campaigning, but not get in the way.”

On the other hand, the Xunta is concerned about the unknown quantity of pellets that could reach the beaches and the ability to react, while the comparisons with the Prestige tragedy either to talk about affecting fishing.

In statements following Rueda’s intervention at this information meeting in Madrid, sources from the Xunta de Galicia have indicated that They do not plan to raise the environmental alert level upon the arrival of these pellets to the coast, unless they receive new information from the Government.

The regional Executive has also defended the safety of the material and has stated that it was Maritime Salvage that received the notice about the loss of the cargo by the shipping company and did not alert the administration autonomous.


For its part, the Government sent a chronology to the media this Sunday in which it states that on December 13, bags full of plastic pellets and also dispersed pellets began to arrive on the Ribeira coast.

He states that the first alert that the Executive received came through the Xunta, specifically from the services of 112 of Galicia, which are the ones that transfer the information to the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility. Simultaneously, he points out that the guards of the Coastal Demarcation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, carried out surveillance work of the affected coast.

The Fisterra Maritime Rescue Coordination Center immediately opened an investigation to determine the origin of the spill and the first evidence already pointed out that it could be the contents of one of the six containers that the ship ‘Toconao’ (flag of Liberia – IMO 9627899) had lost on December 8, about 80 kilometers west of Viana do Castelo (waters of Portuguese responsibility).


On December 20, the lawyer for the ship’s owners acknowledged the facts to the Maritime Rescue coordination center, according to the Government. He explained that they had hired specialized technicians for monitoring the spill and made itself available to pay the costs of the cleaning work and to collaborate with whatever was necessary.

That same day, the Government maintains that it communicated these developments to the Xunta de Galicia.

One thousand bags of pellets

He adds that on January 4, the lawyer for the ship’s owners estimated that the damaged container housed a thousand bags of pellets; and he also reported that They have no record of whether the container sank or they do not know the exact number of bags that make up the spill.

Regarding the content of the containers that fell into the sea, the Portuguese authorities were asked to provide all the information in a final report of the actions carried out.

The Government of Spain emphasizes that it is carrying out “a exhaustive incident monitoring“Firstly, through satellite images and aerial surveillance programmed by the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, which did not detect any stain.

Furthermore, since the demarcation of the coasts in Galicia, and with regard to the situation on the coast, it is noted that the affected municipalities were contacted from the first moment for the removal of the pellets (Ribeira and Porto do Son in December , Walls in January).

It is also argued that “constant surveillance of the area” was carried outconfirming that the incident until January 5 had been “specific” (three municipalities), although the removal of these remains can be “very laborious.”

The Government’s report confirms that on January 3 there is evidence of the arrival of pellets to the municipality of Muros; and it is during the days of January 6th and 7th that they begin to appear further north to A Coruña and Oleiros, and further south to the Vigo estuary.

The central Executive points out that this Monday, January 8, the coastal demarcation will contact the affected municipalities to learn first-hand about the actions that are being carried out.

Sea and land competitions

In the statement, it is recalled that the organization responding to a accidental marine pollution that may affect Spanish waters and coasts is regulated in Royal Decree 1695/2012, of December 21, which approves the National Response System (SNR) to marine pollution.

The SNR collects two subsystems: sea and coast. At sea, the competition lies entirely with the State, through Mitma; and on the coast, activation is staggered and the Government is the third to act, after local and regional entities.

That is, first the affected town councils activate the municipal plans, secondly, the regional administration activates its territorial plans and, thirdly, the State Plan for the Protection of the Seashore against Pollution is activated.

Emergency level

On the coast, as now corresponds to an emergency situation 1, the Government emphasizes that the affected coastal municipalities are acting in the cleanup (Ribeira, Porto do Son and Muros, until January 5).

On January 5, the Government Delegation in Galicia received the communication from the Xunta of the activation of the Territorial Contingency Plan for Accidental Marine Pollution of Galicia. This plan was activated in emergency phase minimum level (situation 1). This step means that, from that moment on, at 2:40 p.m. on January 5, the Government’s ‘Ribera Plan’ is activated at alert level.

But in order for the Ministry to act, in accordance with the provisions of the National Response System, the central Executive insists that, first of all, level 2 of emergency must be declared and The Xunta “must formally request” aid from State resources.