CONTRACTORS have continued their ‘steady progress’ to remove the OS 35 shipwreck from Gibraltar waters, the Captain of the Port reported.
Wreck removers Koole Ltd managed to lift the stern of the beached ship on June 15, setting it afloat again before the cranes take it out of the water.
Their actions reversed the two-day sinking of the rear of the ship last autumn to avoid easterly storms damaging it further.
Port authorities had originally put a deadline of June 16 for the ship to be fully removed from the seabed.
But the process is proving tougher than at first thought, and Captain of the Port John Ghio told GBC he was no longer putting a timeline on the lifting of the two parts of the ruined bulk carrier.
“It’s more about doing it smoothly and carefully to meet any particular deadline,” Ghio said.
He revealed that after they can mechanically refloat the front part of the ship they will scoop both sections of the OS 35 with the semi-submersible platform.
“That will be the last phase and from an oil spill exposure perspective, the most complicated one,” he added.
Meanwhile, the disgraced Syrian captain of the ship authorities blamed for the incident pleaded guilty to all charges in court recently.
His lawyer Freddy Vasquez told the court it was ‘an unfortunate accident’ caused by ‘a professional miscalculation over the space of a few minutes’.
Judge John Restano gave Abdulbar Kaddoura, 53, a four month suspended sentence for all the charges.
The court also revealed how the OS 35 had first made contact with the anchor chain of the Adam LNG below the water line.
This pulled the Adam LNG towards the OS 35 causing the ten metre gash that led to the ship being forced to beach 700 metres off Catalan Bay on August 29.
Prosecutor Christian Rocca said the Syrian, who has suffered insomnia and depression since then, was not reckless but he had been negligent.
Authorities have now returned him his passport and he will be able to go back to his family who had their home damaged by the recent earthquake.
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- Contractors give new date of June 16 for full removal of OS 35 shipwreck off Gibraltar’s coast