Acting Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, visited in Algeciras (Cádiz) the device put in place for the Operation Paso del Estrecho (OPE) of 2019.

"The OPE is the largest device of these characteristics at European level and one of the most important worldwide, but above all is an example of good coordination between different public administrations, and between neighboring countries," said the minister.

The 32nd edition of Operation Paso del Estrecho started last Saturday and will continue until September 15. This macro device was able to manage in 2018 the movement of 3,241,679 passengers and 734,240 vehicles between Europe and Africa.

The holder of the Interior portfolio has intervened in the information days addressed to all the operatives that intervene in the OPE and that has been held in the Millán Picazo Auditorium of the Port of Algeciras.

Grande-Marlaska stressed that the Operation "involves the transit of our roads and the transport by sea between two continents of more than three million people and seven hundred thousand vehicles in a period of three months."

Behind these figures and the efforts of all the people who participate in it, according to the minister, "a very human objective: to make possible the reunion of hundreds of families and separated friends in two continents, even for a brief period. of time".

The minister, who has been accompanied by the government delegate in Andalusia, Lucrecio Fernández, the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Isabel Goicoechea, and the general director of Civil Protection and Emergencies, Alberto Herrera, has also made a tour of the various facilities that make up the device.

In total, more than 21,000 people will participate in OPE 2019, mostly, members of the State Security Forces, the General Directorate of Traffic, Ports of the State, health workers, translators and Red Cross personnel.

Special plan

Ministry of Interior The Ministry of the Interior, in charge of coordinating the operation through the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, has prepared a Special Civil Protection Plan, which includes the necessary measures so that the development of the same is carried out within the levels of agility and security achieved in recent years, despite the constant increase in passengers and vehicles, a trend that has Expected to be maintained during this edition.

Among other issues, a Fleet Plan is envisaged in which seven shipping companies with 34 vessels will operate; a wide safety device to ensure maximum fluidity in the shipments and safety of people; a health and social assistance device in which the Ministry of Health, the Autonomous Communities of Andalusia and Valencia, and the Red Cross collaborate to meet any need that citizens in transit may require; and a special Traffic device, with rest areas and information points duly signposted and staffed, and with the activation of the Border Information System that provides data to predict the times and pace of arrival of vehicles at ports.

Grande-Marlaska pointed out during his visit to Algeciras that the experience accumulated during these more than 30 years of cross-strait operations has made it possible to achieve "a high degree of efficiency in their coordination and development", which translates, among other factors, in "a reduction in waiting times in our ports and better service to citizens".

In this sense, it has encouraged the operatives to carry out one more year "all the necessary effort to ensure that OPE 2019 is a success". "In the dedication and effort of all of you, the success of this operation is based," the minister assured.

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