The Gibraltar Maritime Captaincy has “successfully” completed the operation to remove diesel from the OS35 (around 80% it was carrying), according to official sources, although they remain on board in the engine room tank of the ship stranded in the Strait. about five tons of diesel to allow the operation of the ship’s own machinery.
Five ships run aground in the last 15 years between Algeciras and Gibraltar
In a note, the Gibraltarian Government has stated that the priority now is the removal of low sulfur fuel oil from tank 2, which has already started. In addition, it has indicated that all possible options are being actively explored in the plans to remove low-sulfur fuel oil from those in the remaining tanks.
Likewise, it has pointed out that the oil extraction operations inside the containment barrier have eliminated approximately 12 tons of a mixture of oil and water, as well as that the amount of oil that leaks from the ship “has been considerably reduced with about this Thursday.”
Separately, the Gibraltar Port Authority plans to replace the current barrier that is attached to OS35 with a diamond-forming barrier, which will provide “higher resistance”. An operation that he hopes to carry out this Saturday.
The Government of Gibraltar has stated that intensive work is being done to clean up the oil slick, especially in the western part. In this sense, he explained that the absorbent barrier is “very effective, but the process is very slow”, since it works by absorbing the oil by direct contact.
The Gibraltarian Government has indicated that clean-up teams have been deployed in the selected areas to start cleaning up the oil from the coast.
In this regard, he added that the Department of the Environment and the Gibraltar Port Authority are taking all possible measures, both on land and at sea, to minimize the environmental impact of the spill.
He also explained that the protection of Little Bay and the AquaGib and MoD intakes located there are the highest priority in coastal protection efforts. As he has pointed out, these water intakes are normally protected with a precautionary sorbent barrier.
Red flags on the beaches
The Government of the Rock has also indicated that a containment barrier has been deployed in the Mid Harbor marina, so the port will be closed over the weekend to prevent damage to vessels. Also, red flags fly at Camp Bay and Little Bay. The Department of the Environment has received reports of a small number of oiled birds. In this sense, he has asserted that the situation is being closely and constantly monitored and everything possible is being done to minimize the harmful effects on the fauna.
The spilled fuel has already begun to reach the Andalusian coast, as described this morning by the mayor of La Línea de la Concepción, Juan Franco, precisely from one of the affected beaches in his municipality, Poniente. “It is not to be happy, but it is not a tragedy either, it seems that it is controlled”, he has said. The Verdemar environmental association, on the other hand, warns of the risk for some protected species in the affected area, such as a colony of dolphins and a natural passage for whales.
Alert on the Andalusian coasts
For her part, the delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in Cádiz, Mercedes Colombo, has raised the Emergency Plan for Coastal Pollution to a 0 situation after detecting remains of the spill from the ship OS35, semi-sunken in Gibraltar, on this beach in Poniente de La Line of the Conception (Cádiz). As indicated by Emergencies 112 on its official Twitter account, the spot detected was between 50 and 75 meters in said area, although it has already been cleaned. The Board has prohibited bathing in this area.
The President of the Board, Juan Manuel Moreno, has asserted this Friday from Almería that the Autonomous Administration is “on alert” and with “all the necessary means” available “to try to avoid what could be a catastrophe in environmental terms” as a result of the spill caused by the semi-sunken ship in Gibraltar.
Moreno has indicated that the Board is “very pending”, and there is “coordination with the General State Administration”, in addition to maintaining “contact with the Gibraltarian authorities”. He has confirmed that “a little waste has arrived on the beaches” of La Línea de la Concepción, but “for now the city council itself” of that town in Cadiz “has transferred” to the Board “that, with their means, they are capable of clean them up.”