Admiral Sergio Biraghi, commander-in-chief of the Italian navy, announced in his recent annual report that the navies of 22 countries will participate in the running of a Mediterranean control centre which is being set up in Rome. Biraghi explained that 20 per cent of all the worlds petroleum passes through the Mediterranean and that mercantile traffic was increasing annually by ten per cent. A terrorist attack that blocked the Mediterranean basin would have very grave consequences. The new centre will monitor all shipping entering from the Straights of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles, and will control the movement of ships and smaller vessels carrying illegal immigrants. The centre should be functioning by June 2005.