THE Port of Gibraltar restarted bunkering operations Wednesday evening as government workers and volunteers cleaned oil off rocks and beaches after Monday’s spill.
Captain of the Port John Ghio revealed that ‘between 1,000 and 2,000 litres of very low sulphur oil’ had spilt into the sea.
Most of it then collected on the shorelines of popular bathing spots Camp Bay, Rosia Bay and Little Bay as well as some parts of Seven Sisters.
It followed the accident on Monday when the Gas Venus ship’s tank overflowed during refuelling.
A Strategic Coordinating Group met for the first time on Wednesday led by minister for civil contingencies Samantha Sacramento.
Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani and Minister for the Environment John Cortes also attended.
The biggest tragedy was that the largest amount of oil damaged a marine protection area although workers have not yet found any oiled seabirds in the area.
Eight port launches are now scouring the seas for free-floating light oil sheen that spread from the heavy oil that accumulated on Gibraltar shores.
Department of the Environment, Brightside and Nautilus Group volunteers are now trying to clear the oil away from rocks and jetties at the bathing spots.
Drones and shoreside surveys have tried to locate the worst hit areas to signal them to cleaners
Bathing areas closed
“There are no remaining large patches of free-floating oil in the Bay,” the government said in a statement.
And with the westerly winds pushing the oil towards Gibraltar’s coast, it reported they had found no free-floating oil at all north of Seven Sisters or south of Little Bay.
As a result of the spill, police have closed down Camp Bay, Little Bay and Rosia Bay even though the Camp Bay pools remain open.
It has meant the Bathing Pavilion and Europa Pool have received more public demand as they escape the warm summer weather.
“I’d like to thank and commend all those whose quick action has brought the impact of yesterday’s oil spill under control,” Minister Sacramento said Wednesday.
“Significant progress has been made so far and the clear aim for today is to mitigate the risk of shoreside heavy oil washing back into the sea.
“I’d also like to thank our local NGOs for their support and work alongside the Gibraltar Port Authority, the Department of Environment and Brightside in the clean-up effort,” she added.
Finally she thanked the public ‘for their understanding as we work to limit the environmental damage and impact on the bathing season’.
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