Despite the fact that the Gibraltar Port Authority considered the fuel spill from the freighter to be contained at noon, a long stain of fuel extended this afternoon from the bulk carrier OS35 until it entered, due to the effect of the currents, the waters of the Strait.
A fuel oil leak from the ship stranded in Gibraltar manages to exceed the anti-pollution barrier
The initial forecasts, however, were exceeded in terms of the process of extracting the fuel that was on board the merchant ship, as confirmed by the Gibraltar Contingency Council, meeting again this afternoon at number 6 Convent Place.
The group, chaired by the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, were briefed by the Harbor Master, John Ghio, on the events of this afternoon. Also in attendance were the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Joseph Garcia, the Minister for the Environment, Dr. John Cortés, and the Minister for the Port, Vijay Daryanani.
As of 5:30 p.m., the salvage team had pumped 42 cubic meters of diesel from the OS 35 vessel: “Most of the diesel is expected to have been pumped tomorrow morning, as reports received by the Port Master suggest that it will be possible to continue operations during the night,” the government said in an official note.
By late afternoon, the pumped volume reached 53 cubic meters of diesel from the ship, approximately a fifth of the cargo in its tanks. “Although there is still a visible amount of low sulfur fuel oil on the East side, approximately half of the amount leaked this morning has been collected by the barriers and subsequently pumped to the tanks,” the authorities have indicated.
Three levels of containment
Currently, there are three levels of containment working upstream with J-dams at different points on the East Side to try to stop oil spills. To all this, as confirmed by Juan Franco, mayor of La Línea, a Spanish ship specialized in the environment could be added, which has already embarked on a journey from Cartagena to Gibraltar.
“Analyses conducted this Thursday show that, although this is a significant leak, the consistency of the low sulfur fuel oil is lighter than in other incidents in the Bay, which means it should be easier to dissipate and clean up if any. some will reach our shores”, confide the Gibraltarian public officials.
Additional Barrier Deployment
An additional barrier has been provided by the UK Ministry of Defense and has been deployed in Catalan Bay to protect the coastline from leaking low sulfur fuel oil or any other potential leaks. Similarly, barriers have been deployed to protect the saltwater intakes in Little Bay and avoid any potential risk to the AcquaGib desalination plants, recently affected by a fire in the Devi’s Tower tunnel.