It has been difficult, but finally this Tuesday it was possible to confirm, and not from official sources, but valid ones, the list of breakdowns that kept five of the six Civil Guard vessels in Cádiz and Algeciras moored in port. The port of Barbate, scene of the murder of two civil guards on Friday night, is under the jurisdiction of the Cádiz command. But the three boats that could have adequately confronted the criminals' drug boats were damaged.
The technical report is bleak, to say the least. The Río Águeda had the port engine cylinder head damaged since February 4; The Irati River had its anchoring system damaged since December 1 of last year; The Ulloa River had left the slipway on Tuesday but refrigerant leaks were discovered in the exchanger. Those three in Cádiz, but in Algeciras, the Cedena River had the auxiliary engine damaged since Wednesday and the S20 had a breakdown in a seized engine since January 4.
It is evident that none of the boats could have reached Barbate with the storm that made navigation completely unfeasible; But the reality that the Ministry of the Interior, nor its head, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, did not officially admit during his visit to Cádiz after the tragedy is that five of the six available were damaged.
Some compatible and normal breakdowns in ships that are more than twenty years old, as those responsible for the Maritime Service pointed out in a report that they sent to the Ministry of the Interior a couple of weeks ago and that Cadena Ser advanced this Tuesday.
The document bears the signature of the three heads of the coast, border and maritime police headquarters of the Civil Guard. It is the justifying report where the Ministry of the Interior, through the General Directorate of the Civil Guard, argues why it is urgent to invest in new patrol boats for the countryside of Gibraltar. In that report, from January, it was recognized that the boats are very old and cannot withstand the attacks of the drug boats. Hence, the ministry has already put out to tender the new vessels.
"Very aged", is how the report defines the state of its fleet of high-speed boats. A document that recognizes that a third of these Civil Guard patrol boats are around 20 years old, when the useful life is 15 and not precisely with the tute they have in scenarios such as the Campo de Gibraltar.
And they are not only out of date, as the document advanced by Cadena Ser warns, but also poorly prepared, as is literally recognized. The Civil Guard vessels "do not meet the necessary accommodation conditions for the services they provide." In particular, the persecutions of drug traffickers and the increasingly frequent attacks that on Friday night had the already known conditions.