1 Sep, 2022 @ 12:38
1 min read

‘Crumpled’ bulker off Gibraltar’s Catalan Bay remains ‘stable’ with no new leaks detected

593.5 2022

THE stranded bulk carrier OS 35 that started to break up off Catalan Bay on Wednesday evening has not started to leak oil or diesel yet, Gibraltar authorities said.

Infrared drones and land-based thermal imaging cameras kept the ship under surveillance throughout the night aided by local and Spanish boats.

Salvage teams are now on board the OS 35 and divers are inspecting the damage of the breakup to plan for fuel to be extracted.

It followed Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s statement on local TV that removing the oil was ‘still possible’.

Gibraltar Port Authority officials are putting equipment in place to help to secure the ship.

The port is closed for today as all efforts are made to stop an environmental disaster.

“The indications are that it is probable that the vessel has not broken apart as such, but has crumpled,” said the Gibraltar Government in a statement.

“The first concern is the offloading of the heavy fuel oil onboard as soon as possible, followed by the diesel and then lube oil.

“The public should be reassured that there has been no way to remove the fuels in question from the vessel any sooner in a manner that was not a risk to the environment,” it added.

The boom on the port side of the ship is being separated from the hull to stop any oil escaping.

Port officials are placing another four booms in J formation around the stranded ship.

A foam oil barrier is also being placed to protect Catalan Bay.

Further oil spill equipment will arrive from the UK on Sunday.

A police investigation is underway after authorities revealed the captain of the OS 35 did not reveal the extent of the damage to his ship until it was too late.

UK Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister candidate Liz Truzz has offered Gibraltar help to tackle the crisis.

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