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President takes part in ‘symbolic’ destruction of storage tank

President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday gave a helping hand in the demolition of a massive fuel tank in Larnaca and pledged that the government would assist local communities to restore the beach area the structure has been standing on for almost five decades.

Anastasiades, accompanied by the transport, energy and interior ministers, attended a ceremony to start the demolition of Petrolina’s tank 15, which is part of plans to move energy firms out of Larnaca, as per the standing request of the majority of the district’s residents.

The president even operated for a while an oxygen torch used to cut into metal, expressing his satisfaction with the “symbolic” demolition of Petrolina’s tank 15 which, he said, marks the beginning of the timeframe provided for in the memorandum of understanding to be signed between the government and Larnaca municipality for the relocation of oil and gas firms from the district by 2020.

Both the government, Anastasiades said, and the municipalities of Larnaca and Livadia will contribute to the completion of an effort launched in 2001, “so that one of the best beaches of the area will be developed”

He said that within the coming days he would announce a local master plan, and gave reassurances that the government is determined to deliver the area in question for development.

The memorandum outlines a procedure on the relocation as well as a timeframe which includes the possibility of fines and the termination of a company’s operations for those that don’t comply.

Phase one concerns the transitional relocation of liquid fuels by December 2019 and firms currently based in Larnaca will have at least two terminals to choose from. The companies will be relocating to either Limassol port or Vassiliko.

The second part concerns making the move permanent by 2020 and relocating liquefied petroleum gas by December 2020.

It also provides for fines up €17,000 and legal procedures to strip companies of their licence in case they do not stick to timeframes.

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