October 5, 2022

Gibraltar races to stop oil spill from ship collision with gas tanker

Gibraltar races to stop oil spill from ship collision with gas tanker

A “major accident” was announced in Gibraltar on Wednesday after the OS 35 cargo ship collided with a liquefied natural gas tanker the previous day, according to the government.

The cargo ship carrying 215 tons of heavy fuel oil, 250 tons of diesel fuel and 27 tons of lube oil was placed ashore to prevent it from sinking in the Gulf of Gibraltar. All 30 people on board, including 24 crew members and 6 surveyors, were evacuated.

The Gibraltar government said Thursday the oil spill was “significant”, but the oil is lighter than some other cases and should be easier to clean up if any of the oil comes ashore.

“Analysis as of today shows that although this was a large leak, the consistency of the low-sulfur fuel oil is lighter than during other accidents in the Gulf, meaning it is easier to dissipate and clean up if there is any fuel,” the government said. In a press release, “Oil arrives on our shores.”

Most of the diesel is expected by Friday morning, according to the government statement.

Earlier today, the Gibraltar Port Authority confirmed that an oil spill had emerged from the vicinity of a boom erected in the wake of the accident.

“The rescue team on board the ship has identified the source of this leak to two tank hatches from the ship’s bunker tanks. All hatches were previously closed, but the seals of the two hatches became loose when the ship was stacked,” the agency said in a statement. statement.

The statement said divers at the scene were able to reinstall the seals and that the GPA was in the process of stopping oil leakage from the manholes. The authorities were collecting free-floating oil that had already been vented, while bulkheads were deployed to absorb the oil.

The government said, on Wednesday evening, that there were indications that the cargo ship “did not disintegrate like this, but collapsed”, and that the “first concern” was to unload the low-sulfur heavy fuel oil it was carrying as quickly as possible. Followed by diesel oil and lubricating oil.

The government added that “there was no way to remove the fuel in question from the ship at the earliest in a manner that would not pose a risk to the environment.”

Divers repaired seals around the many holes on the affected vessel.

Greenpeace told CNN it was concerned that the area of ​​the accident was heavily contaminated due to the scale of passing ships.

“As it stands, there is no major oil spill,” Francisco del Pozo, a Greenpeace activist who is monitoring the situation, told CNN.

According to Gibraltar authorities, the pumping will take about 50 hours with the process being “strictly supervised to strive to avoid any spillage”.

The statement said that additional oil spill equipment was expected to arrive in Gibraltar from the United Kingdom on Sunday.

The Gibraltar government has said the time frame for salvaging the OS 35 cargo ship’s hull is likely to be a few weeks longer than previous forecasts.