WRECK removers started to bring the bow of the OS 35 out of the sea Tuesday after refloating and stabilising the stern of the broken ship the week before.
Captain of the Port John Ghio said government agencies had laid down ‘preventive booms’ on Monday to stop any potential oil spill reaching beaches.
“This delicate operation is enabled by the current window of good weather that allows it to take place safely,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement that also appeared on Twitter.
Wreck removers Koole Ltd worked hard to pump out all of the water from the stern of the ship and get it floating again for the last two weeks.
Salvagers had deliberately sunk it last September to prevent it breaking apart further during winter storms.
For the first time since the OS 35 first sunk on August 29, both the stern and bow of the ship are now floating, albeit in separate places.
The current calm seas and low winds could mean the sight of the ship 700m off Catalan Bay could soon just be a distant memory.
After refloating the bow, the semi-submersible Fjord platform ship will scoop up both parts of the bulk carrier and remove them permanently from the area.
Port authorities fear this lifting stage could see further oil leaks as the pipes at the bottom of both sections of the shipwreck are unsettled.
But this time at least, there will be comprehensive oil barriers around the area that were not present during recent storms which soiled several beaches.
This week could end a 10-month odyssey that started when the OS 35 caught the anchor of the Adam LNG as it left the Bay of Gibraltar.
It pulled the keel of the anchored ship toward the OS 35 and gave in a ten metre gash which finally broke the ship in two after it beached off the Gibraltarian coast on August 29.
In a recent GBC interview, Ghio revealed how the night the OS 35 sunk the captain of the ship was in a state of panic.
“There are things that I would have wanted him to do differently,” Ghio told John Scott in a radio interview.
“The communication flow was not what we wanted and did not help us.
“But I need to have a bit of empathy and realise that the guy was panicking at the time.
“It is something which he was trained not to do, but everybody is human.”
- Easterly winds delay lifting of OS 35 from Gibraltar’s Catalan Bay with wreck removers on standby
- ‘HEARTBREAKING’: Nautilus Project chief says OS 35 oil spill was ‘extremely detrimental’ to Gibraltar
- Contractors give new date of June 16 for full removal of OS 35 shipwreck off Gibraltar’s coast