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Operation Crossing the Strait hit record numbers for weekends with significant increases when compared with 2018

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Operation Crossing the Strait, (Spanish acronym: OPE), has witnessed record-breaking volume at the weekends with figure that clearly demonstrate the capacity to absorb these increases and the effectiveness of the extraordinary measures employed to provide an efficient and fast response to the thousands of vehicles and passengers that are crossing the Strait of Gibraltar towards Africa during this period.

Furthermore, this movement is taking place under normal conditions on the highways and in towns nearby these ports, despite coinciding with the habitual summer displacement of thousands of citizens.

Just last weekend, the OPE reached figures that were well above those recorded in 2018. Up to Monday, 5 August, 1,393,541 passengers and 323,632 vehicles had embarked at the nine ports falling under the operation, representing increases of 8.6% and 11.1% respectively. This is in line with the increasing numbers seen over recent years, as predicted by the Directorate-General of Civil Protection and Emergencies under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which coordinates the operation.

Specifically, in the Bay of Algeciras, the nerve centre handling more than 70% of this operation, 223,207 vehicles and 977,761 passengers passed through, reaching on Saturday, 3 August, a maximum flow of 975 vehicles/hour at Algeciras Port.

To speed up these movements, a series of extraordinary measures were implemented on these particular days, such as shipping companies accepting tickets issued by other companies operating out of Algeciras Port, the restriction in the number of lorries and coaches per ship, and the opening of Tarifa Port, which proved to be fully efficient.

Thanks to these measures, waiting times at peak periods were never more than three and a half hours on the Algeciras/Tánger Med route and two and a half hours on the Algeciras/Ceuta route. Furthermore, passengers had access to health and social personnel to attend to their needs at all times.

Those responsible for this operation on the most critical days were continuously monitoring its development. Furthermore, the Under-secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Isabel Goicoechea, together with the Director-General of Civil Protection and Emergencies, Alberto Herrera, held a videoconference on Sunday afternoon with the Steering Committee of the Provincial Plan for the Operation, which was coordinated by the Government Sub-delegate in Cádiz, who expressed satisfaction at the running of Operation Crossing the Strait.

Just a few days before the end of the outbound phase of this operation on 15 August, and with a view to the return phase, which ends on 15 September, the Directorate-General of Civil Protection and Emergencies wishes to thank the media for its collaboration in broadcasting warnings and recommendations to the public, as they provide a vital channel for making citizens aware of the valuable information at all times to help them decide on the most suitable travel plans.

Non official translation