10 Apr, 2023 @ 14:44
1 min read

OIL SPILL: Workers lay down protective boom around OS 35 shipwreck as storm passes

Gib Beach Oil Spill

GIBRALTAR’S Port Authority has returned the oil barriers around the OS 35 as seas calmed down enough after last week’s Levante storm.

Captain of the Port John Ghio said that there had been no further fuel oil leaks from the shipwreck after Wednesday’s spill polluted local beaches.

Port workers put the booms back in place by 6pm on Easter Sunday, protecting surrounding beaches from any further leaks, a government statement said.

The port authority have not registered any further reports of floating oil, it said.

The Department of the Environment continued to clean up the rest of the oil spill from Gibraltar’s coastline throughout the holiday weekend.

A strong Levante storm on Wednesday broke the final remaining lower section of the OS 35 bulk carrier that was holding it together.

This resulted in the ship breaking completely in two parts severing the pipelines running from the fuel tank to the engine.

The resulting spill affected Sandy Bay, Catalan Bay and Little Bay.

The public reported thick clouds of oil in the sea which strong waves pushed onto the sand and rocked.

But public and private cleaners quickly got to work clearing out tarballs and oil stains from the sand and rocks.

After originally closing the affected bathing areas, the government then went on to open the three beaches on Saturday.

Authorities only cordoned off areas in which cleaners were still working.

Marine protection charity The Nautilus Project asked the public to report any ‘oiled animals in distress’.

It tweeted photos of seagulls and the endangered Ribbed Mediterranean Limpet covered in oil.

Despite the fast cleanup, the government said that while the public could swim ‘at their own risk’ there could still be oil in the water.

“Please remain cautious on the beaches and when bathing as small tar balls may still be present,” the government said in a statement.

“Any sightings of oiled wildlife should be reported to Environmental Protection Officers,” it added.

Authorities will continue to monitor the situation as salvage barges get back to dismantling the shipwreck this week.


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