12 May, 2023 @ 14:57
1 min read

Contractors give new date of June 16 for full removal of OS 35 shipwreck off Gibraltar’s coast

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THE Dutch company employed by owners of the OS 35 to remove the shipwreck from Gibraltar’s coast will only be able to complete the job by June 16, it has said.

Koole Wreck Removal will first make both the front and back sections airtight before lifting them out of the water from their current location 700m from Catalan Bay.

This new stage will see the greatest risk of a further oil spill but the contractors backed by the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) have put a plan into place to stop it happening.

Captain of the Port John Ghio had originally ordered that the wreck be removed by May 30.

But in the latest government press release on the OS 35, he admitted it was ‘an extremely complex and delicate process’.

“Whilst the short delay for its final removal is unfortunate, this is the only safe way to do so that mitigates the potential future source of pollution and minimise the impact on the environment and Gibraltar’s coastline,” Ghio said.

Koole advised the port authority that ‘preparatory works are taking longer than anticipated’.

This had caused the latest delay of over two weeks after the May 30 deadline.

After divers have made both the front and aft sections of the sunken boat airtight, specialised workers will start refloating both broken sections of the boat.

Barring rough seas, the rear part of the boat could be refloated by May 29, with the front part refloated on June 2.

Workers have already secured lifting points to the front part of the boat, with cranes ready to lift it onto waiting barges.

Once the contractors have lifted the smashed hull from the seabed, chains will help to reinforce its stability and provide more stability.

They will then bring each section alongside the barges before lifting them out of the water.

This is when oil might most likely escape into the sea, with the Koole working with the GPA and Department of the Environment to prevent any more spills.

They will place containment boom around each section of the wreck and other booms around the beaches themselves.

Contractors and government agencies will have enough to secure any oil coming out of the boat with further patrols on sea and land during the process.

“The works to remove the OS 35 are progressing well, but the reality of the state of the wreck is dictating the pace of operations,” Ghio said.

“It is vital that every stage is completed in a way thatis careful, deliberate and safe,” he added.


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