Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 14:07:58 +0200 (METDST) MADRID, Oct 11, 2008 (AFP) - Bad weather drove two freighters aground off southern Spain overnight, but the more than 50 sailors aboard the ships were reported safe, the Spanish maritime rescue service said Saturday. The Liberian-flagged Fedra, which ran ashore in the British colony of Gibraltar, close to Algesiras, broke in two shortly after the 31 crew were taken off. A similar vessel, the Tawe, got into difficulty in the Bay of Algesiras and was leaking a small quantity of fuel. The 21 crew members were waiting to be rescued and were unharmed.
Date: Thu 14 Aug 2008 Source: The Euroweekly online [edited] During the last week [8-14 Aug 2008], the Director of Public Health has been notified of 17 cases of measles in Gibraltar. Most of the cases seen so far have been in children under 18 years old and predominantly in children who had not been vaccinated with the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine. Children who have not contracted disease naturally and those who are unvaccinated are now at great risk. Measles is a very unpleasant disease, although nowadays quite rare. Most people will have a mild attack with fever and rash, but it should be remembered that the disease is capable of causing some very serious consequences. Complications such as fits or even bacterial infection and pneumonia can develop. Adults as well as children can get the disease, but it tends to affect small children more often. However, many adults will have caught the disease as a child and will therefore be immune. Measles is [preventable] with the MMR vaccine, which is available free on Gibraltar's health service. The vaccine was first introduced in 1989, but, unfortunately, it encountered adverse publicity in the UK in the late 1990s, causing some parents not to immunise their children. These fears have subsequently been disproved by several large international studies, the results of which are widely published on NHS [National Health Service] websites and elsewhere. The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls the MMR vaccine "a highly effective vaccine with an outstanding safety record." Fortunately, in Gibraltar, the uptake of vaccine has generally been good. The Gibraltar Health Authority is urging all parents of children who have not had the MMR vaccine to get their children immunised as soon as possible. This course will consist of 2 injections approximately 3 months apart. Arrangements are also being made to offer vaccine to younger children at earlier ages than usual when it is felt that the child may be exposed to greater risk of catching the disease. Children can be immunised as early as 6 months. For further information, please contact the child welfare department at the Primary Care Centre (tel: 72945) or your doctor. Public information is also available on the UK website: . ------------------------- [The Rock of Gibraltar is located at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar is connected by a sandy isthmus to Spain, by ferry to Morocco and by flights to London. No information has been provided regarding the source of the measles virus responsible for this outbreak. In this respect, it will be relevant to determine the genotype of the measles virus involved. According to a survey during the period 2005-2006 (see: "High genetic diversity of measles virus, World Health Organization European Region, 2005-2006." By J.R. Krem et al., Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Jan;14(1):107-14 ), 9 measles virus genotypes were identified throughout the World Health Organization European Region. All major epidemics were associated with genotypes D4, D6, and B3. Other genotypes (B2, D5, D8, D9, G2, and H1) were only found in limited numbers of cases after importation from other continents. The genetic diversity of endemic D6 strains was low; genotypes C2 and D7, circulating in Europe until recently, were no longer identified. The transmission chains of several indigenous measles virus strains may thus have been interrupted by enhanced vaccination. However, multiple importations from Africa and Asia and virus introduction into highly mobile and unvaccinated communities caused a massive spread of D4 and B3 strains throughout much of the region. Thus, despite the reduction of endemic measles virus circulation, importation of measles virus from other continents caused prolonged circulation and large outbreaks after their introduction into unvaccinated and highly mobile communities. These observations provide evidence for the endemic circulation of genotype D6 in Europe, at least during the past 15 years. Measles cases in the European Region associated with other genotypes were mostly due to virus importation from other continents. Determination of the genotype of the current Gibraltar outbreak strain will help clarify its origin. A map of the distribution of measles virus genotypes up to 2006 can be found in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record, No. 51/52, 2006, 81, 469-48 . An interactive map of Gibraltar can be accessed at: . - ProMed Mod.CP]
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 18:20:41 +0100 (MET) MADRID, Dec 23 (AFP) - Bad weather halted most ferry services across the Straits of Gibraltar Thursday, with only one of the three companies plying between Spain and Morocco operating, local authorities said. EuroFerries was running a service between Algeciras and the Spanish north African enclave of Melilla, but Trasmediterranea and Buquebus decided to stay in port. The ferries also link southern Spain to Melilla, the other Spanish enclave, and the Moroccan port of Tangiers.
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 15:49:25 +0200 (METDST) MADRID, Sept 2 (AFP) - The Spanish government is to lift restrictions on cruise ships calling into port at the British dependent territory of Gibraltar, to which Madrid lays claim, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday. The spokesman confirmed to AFP information published Thursday in El Mundo which said the Spanish were to drop the three-year-old policy which had fomented ill-feeling between London and Madrid. That ill-feeling reached a high point last month when Britain sent a ministerial delegation to attend Gibraltar's celebrations marking 300 years of British rule. In May Britain made its unhappiness known via diplomatic representations to the Spanish authorities after Gibralter estimated it was losing out on the visit of some 20 vessels a year. Last Saturday saw Spanish officials sit down with their Gibraltarian counterparts, including the territory's chief minister Peter Caruana, who had not had talks with ranking Spanish officials since November 2001. Following a private dinner Madrid dubbed the meeting "cordial and constructive."
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 06:04:56 +0100 (MET) STRASBOURG, France, Feb 24 (AFP) - A strong earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale, struck the Strait of Gibraltar early Tuesday, France's earth sciences observatory in Strasbourg reported. The quake happened at 0227 GMT, according to the observatory. It was more powerful than the last big quake in the area, in May 1994, which measured 5.7 on the Richter scale. The Strait of Gibraltar runs between the tiny British dependent territory of Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Spain, and Morocco.