AN oil spill from a bulk carrier in the Bay of Gibraltar has reached areas of the western coastline inside the port area.

The spill occurred at 6.50am this morning after a venting valve on the AM Ghent bulk carrier anchored in the bay failed.

Gibraltar Port Authority immediately followed the counter-pollution plan to try to clean up the mess.

Clean-up operations were put under the supervision of the Bunkering Superintendent and a contracted party.

“Captain of the Port contacted his counterpart in Algeciras to inform him of the situation,” said a spokesperson for the Gibraltar Government.

“Although assistance was offered, such was declined.

“Special permission was granted for two Spanish assets to come into BGTW to prevent oil from transgressing the medium line in the bay.

“The incident is still ongoing.”

Oil pollution has been recorded all over the coastal areas of Mid-Harbours and Westview Park.

Venting valve failures are one of the most common reasons for oil spills, normally occurring when a ship is refuelling.

UPDATE: GPA, its private contractors and Department of Environment boats are using all their units to clean up the rest of the oil spill.

They have been picking up all the residue oil floating on the sea and cleaning the inside of the harbour quays affected by the spill.

The boat that caused the spill is being detained to be held responsible for the oil spill.

Minister for the Environment, John Cortes, called the incident ‘rare’ but with ‘a great environmental cost’ just as sealife was recovering in recent years.

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