Beaches and roads have been forced to close in Gibraltar due to an oil spill after a gas carrier overflowed its tanks near the shoreline.
Camp Bay and Rosia Bay are no longer accessible to the public following the spillage of an ‘unquanitified’ amount of oil during a bunkering operation off the South Mole.
The spill occurred when the carrier Gas Venus was refuelling a short distance from the shoreline in the western anchorage, the Gibraltar Port Authority said.
It said in a statement online: ‘The Gibraltar Port Authority has initiated its oil spill contingency plan in conjunction with the Department of Environment and response operations are currently underway.
‘Spanish authorities have been notified as part of the automatic procedure. The incident occurred at approximately 8:22am in the southern part of the Western Anchorage, when a vessel taking bunkers experienced an overflow of its tanks. The quantities of oil are currently unquantified.
‘The Department of Environment are closely monitoring developments and lifeguards are on alert for oil on the Western shoreline. Red flags are flying at Camp Bay and Little Bay as it is expected that some oil will reach the shore in these areas.’
It added: ‘Bathers are urged to be cautious even if Yellow flags are flying. Caution is also advised for those at sea on pleasure boats and when fishing from a boat or from shore.’
Roads have been closed to allow emergency vehicles access to the affected areas.
The Gibraltar government said in a statement on Twitter: ‘The Captain of the Port has suspended operations at the Gibraltar Port this morning following an oil spill incident in the bay.
‘Red flags are flying at Camp Bay and Little Bay as it is expected that some oil will reach the shore in these areas.’
It later added: ‘Camp Bay and Little Bay beaches are closed to the public as oil is present on these shorelines.
‘The Department of Environment continue to monitor the situation and roll out their oil spill response plan.’