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The Mediterranean is a primary sea, where the categories of civilization or the evolution matrices in the North and the South cannot be reduced to a common denominator. The coastal and inland approaches exclude or even oppose one another. Mistaking the representation of reality with the reality itself, is a perpetuated trend: the image of the Mediterranean Sea and the true Mediterranean Sea are not the same.
The Mediterranean Sea has faced modernity too late. It has not seen laicism on all its sides. Each coast lives its own contradictions that continue to be reflected on the other sides of the basin and on other different and sometimes far away spaces.
The view offered by the Mediterranean Sea is not reassuring at all. The northern side is behind the times compared with Northern Europe, and likewise the southern side is behind the European one.
The EU is being defined without considering that: a Europe separated from "the cradle of Europe" is being born, but nobody can grow up deprived of its childhood and adolescence.
The criteria adopted by the North to observe the present and the future of the Mediterranean area do not match those used in the South. The points of view are very different. Many decisions concerning the destiny of the Mediterranean are too often defined outside of it or without it, producing frustrations and shadows.
The manifestations of joy before nostalgic sights are expressed through arts and letters.
An appeal coming from the civil Society, perhaps, could save at least the sea itself, the nature of places, the landscape, the coasts, the houses, the lighthouses, the towers, the historical centres.
To save the Mediterranean, the sea that risks more, is by now necessary as well as the hope in coming to a shared even though differentiated vision: to join its cultures and its civilizations in order to preserve it.
The governments of this area pursue rudimentary maritime policies. The Mediterranean seems to be a state of things, and it does not succeed in becoming a true design. The northern side occasionally appears in the European plans, but the southern one is always missing.

" WE DEMAND the Mediterranean sea to be protected, the most important routes to be monitored, "poisonous ships", "old tubs" and "ecological bombs" not allowed to pass.
The single hull tankers could destroy easily and forever many wonderful places. What would happen if an oil tanker sank in the Bocche di Bonifacio, or the Channel of Otranto, the Bocche di Cattaro? A boat shipping dangerous substances could go adrift and hit one of its sides, everywhere it would result in a massacre and an ecological disaster. After the opening of the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea represents nothing more that the sea to be crossed to reach the ocean. This crossing route should be at least limited by simple and effective rules, in order to guarantee the security of people. Being so encircled by several nations, the Mediterranean Sea can and has to be protected at the best.
In order to prevent any oil tanker from erasing the colours of our sea, so that they can always be as those drawn by the ancient cartographers on the pilot books.

" WE DEMAND the international convention "Hns" on the responsibility and the compensation for the damages produced by the sea transport of dangerous substances to be subscribed by the majority of the Mediterranean Countries.

" WE DEMAND the same to be made for the "Bunker oil", about the responsibility of merchant ships and oil tankers concerning the pollution provoked by the outpouring of fuels into the sea, and the conventions promoted by the European Union to be extended to the whole Mediterranean area which is "the cradle of Europe".
The black list of ships that do not respect the rules of maritime security must constantly be updated, the 66 ships that have been often stopped in the European ports because they were not in compliance with the rules of maritime security have to be banished for ever from the Mediterranean Sea.

" WE DEMAND, to grant the maritime security, the heavy oil transport to be prohibited in single hull oil tankers in the whole Mediterranean area.

" WE DEMAND the would-be European Agency for Maritime Security to set up a similar Agency for Maritime Security in the Mediterranean.

" WE DEMAND the international conventions to strengthen the level of the compensation for the damages produced by sea pollution, demanding also all Mediterranean Countries to ratify a convention that defines an amount of repair equal to at least 1 billion euros in case of accidents.

" WE DEMAND international rules to be introduced and applied to the whole Mediterranean area, about the penal responsibility of maritime companies recognized guilty of sea pollution due to grave negligence.

" WE DEMAND the limitation of the responsibilities of the owner to be prevented, in case he or she is guilty, and the regime of immunity for charterers, shipowners and other sujects to have a stop.

" WE DEMAND a Community recognition system of the certifications about seamen competence issued outside the Union to be introduced, demanding all Mediterranean Countries to join the International Maritime Orgnization (IMO) and demanding the IMO itself to strengthen maritime security.

" WE DEMAND a single supranational Agency to ensure pollution prevention and this Agency to be established to safeguard the Mediterranean basin and take upon itself the tasks so far entrusted by European and national maritime laws to a variety of structures.

" WE ASK every conflict opposing European laws, national rules and international agreements about sea pollution prevention to be overcome.

Only if Europe does not forget the sea in which it was born, and grown up, the sea in which it spent its childhood, the Mediterranean will be saved.

Otranto, December 31st 2002

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