29 Jul, 2023 @ 09:01
2 mins read

OS 35 shipwreck heads out of Gibraltar waters aboard barge on its way to the Netherlands


GIBRALTAR bade a final relieved farewell to the OS 35 that left the local waters for the last time on Friday morning aboard the Fjord semi-submersible barge on its way to the Netherlands.

It ended a forced 11 month stay in Gibraltar waters where it constantly shed oil into the sea after beaching 700m from Catalan Bay on August 29.

Captain of the Port John Ghio said “I’m delighted to to confirm that the long and challenging operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35 from Gibraltar has been brought to a safe conclusion.”

And Chief Minister Fabian Picardo thanked Ghio and authorities in Algeciras for their help during the accident.

The Fjord semi-submersible barge scooped up the two broken sections of the bulk carrier in early July.

The Koole wreck removal ship has been anchored at the Eastern Anchorage on Gibraltar’s southeastern side securing two parts of the OS 35 since then.

After the ship beached at Catalan Bay, port authorities made the decision to sink the still floating stern of the ship to prevent further break-up.

But storms the buffeted the shipwreck throughout the winter led to the original ten metre gash sustained when it hit another ship leaving the harbour last August to finally split the ship in two.

It led to a number of oil spills that affected local and nearby beaches in Spain.

As the weather improved in June, contractors Koole Ltd refloated the two sections before finally loading them onto the Fjord.

Ghio thanked his own staff, the Department of the Environment, NGOs and the Spanish authorities for their help during the incident.

He expressed his gratitude to Koole for their sterling work and expressed his gratitude to the public and Catalan Bay residents ‘for their understanding at each stage of this long and delicate process’.

Neighbourly gratitude

Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani piped in to commend the Captain of the Port.

He said it had been ‘a long and often challenging, but overall safe and successful salvage of the OS 35 wreck’.

“From inception of the incident to the final removal of the wreck their work has been praised throughout the industry and from across the frontier and across the Bay,” Picardo said.

“Our frequent critics have become our partners indealing with the issues that have arisen and that international support and recognition has been remarkable.”

He was referring to the various tugs that came across the Bay to help out in securing the wreck and cleaning oil during spillages.

“Captain John Ghio has kept the media, the community as a whole, residents of Catalan Bay as well as the municipal and Port authorities across the Campo de Gibraltar fully informed of all steps being taken and all mitigation measures being taken to minimise pollution,” the Chief Minister added.

“This has ensured that there has been wide public awareness of every stage of the operation to successfully remove the wreck.”

The Syrian captain accused of causing the accident through negligence got a four month suspended prison sentence at a Gibraltar court on June 12.


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