First Published: 2008-09-29

Doubts cast over Spain-Morocco undersea tunnel plan

New geological study reveals two clay sections under sea would make it difficult to build tunnel.


Middle East Online

Further tests would add an extra billion dollars to the project’s cost

MADRID - A new geological study has cast doubt on the feasibility of a project to build an undersea rail tunnel across the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, a Spanish news report said Sunday.

Two clay sections under the sea would make it difficult to build the tunnel, the El Pais newspaper said, quoting a study recently presented to the Spanish public company SECEG, which is in charge of the project along with Morocco's SNED.

"It is not clear whether it will be possible," SECEG president Angel Aparicio said.

An engineer working on the project, Andrea Panciera, also said there were "huge uncertainties" and proposed building an exploratory tunnel from the Moroccan side up to the clay sections in order to carry out tests, El Pais quoted him as saying.

But such an option would add an extra billion dollars to the cost of the project, which is currently budgeted at five billion dollars (3.4 billion euros), and delay the start of construction by about eight years, it said.

"It is practically impossible to find an alternative solution," the paper said.

Rabat and Madrid commissioned a new study on the project in 2006, after a first plan was abandoned in the 1990s.

The mooted tunnel would be 38.7 kilometres long with 28 kilometres running some 400 metres (1,200 feet) under sea level.


Iraq forces press Mosul assault

Clashes, air strikes end Aleppo ceasefire

UN call to extend Yemen truce falls on deaf ears

Turkey reports over 35,000 people in detention after coup attempt

In violation of constitution, Iraq parliament votes to ban alcohol

French FM annoys Turkey by contrasting states of emergency

UN planning for 150,000 displaced by Mosul battle

UAE jails Sudanese man for planning attacks on immigrants

Qatar in 3 days of mourning for former emir

16 civilians dead in bombardment of Syria's rebel-held Idlib

Civilians suffer in IS 'smoke war'

74 jihadists dead after IS assault on Kirkuk

Nearly 100 civilians dead in Turkey-backed Syria op

Kuwait says more work required to counter IS funding

Mosul refugees under IS fire at Syrian border

Morocco king calls for public administration reform

Israeli air force strikes Gaza

Russia not considering renewing Aleppo ceasefire

Israel minister: ‘we will completely destroy’ Gaza in next war

Mosul battle sees highest number of US air strikes yet

Palestinians free four held after visiting settlement during Sukkot

IS executes five Iraqis in western town

Baghdad denies Ankara taking part in Mosul operation

Iraq forces fight to tighten noose around Mosul

Turkey hits Kurdish group in Syria again

Kremlin aims to 'liberate' Syria with Assad in power

Egypt court upholds 20-year sentence for Morsi

Turkey PM warns EU: Turkey has alternatives!

Battles rage in Yemen despite three-day truce

For second day, Iraq forces clash with ISIS in Kirkuk

New report accuses Syria of chemical attack in Qmenas village

Islamic Jihad stages show of force in Gaza

UN says 'crimes' in Aleppo are 'of historic proportions'

IS sniper kills Iraqi journalist in Kirkuk

US official says coalition should target IS in Raqa after Mosul

Moscow extends Aleppo ceasefire

Italy PM says officials should have voted against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ accused of fraud

UN: IS may use civilians as human shields in Mosul

Armed men attack refugee boat off Libya

US says will work with Turkey to deal IS 'lasting defeat'

Moscow ‘highly concerned’ at jihadists’ refusal to leave Aleppo

Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit

Mauritania president says no change to two-term limit

UN delays Aleppo evacuations due to lack of security assurances