Gibraltar warns of a slowdown in the emptying of fuel from the semi-sunken ship – Levante-EMV

The Government of Gibraltar has warned this Saturday of difficulties that “slow down the emptying” of fuel from the bulk carrier OS35, semi-sunken off the coast of Gibraltar after having collided with another ship, and in this regard has indicated that there is currently an inlet of water in the engine room that “affects the pumping operation”. This is stated in a statement detailing that the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabián Picardo, and the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, have chaired this Saturday at noon a meeting of the Gibraltar Contingency Council – which will meet again in the afternoon-, which was also attended by the Vice Principal Minister, Joseph García; the Port Minister, Vijay Daryanani, and the Environment Minister, John Cortés. Remains of the spill from the ship that crashed in Gibraltar reach La Línea: “We could have a serious problem” There is currently a water leak in the OS35 engine room, so that “the ship’s own systems cannot currently be used safely to pump the fuel”, according to the Gibraltarian authorities, who clarify that, instead, the rescuers will have to resort at this stage “to independent systems outside the ship”. The diving teams are investigating the origin of the water entering the engine room, and “work is being done to eliminate any non-essential material that could increase the levels of contamination”, as indicated by Gibraltar, whose government clarifies that ” the latest reports suggest that the ingress of water may be under control.” Extraction of fuel from tank 2 Likewise, the rescue teams continue the operation of extracting fuel from tank two of the aforementioned ship. In this regard, the Government of Gibraltar specifies that, although most of the fuel has already been successfully extracted, the operation has been “substantially slowed down by this latest event, and residual amounts of fuel are now being extracted”. The Harbor Master is deploying “additional levels of containment” layered around OS35. This involves an ongoing operation to deploy a kilometer of barrier around the vessel, which is being deployed by Spanish Salvamento Marítimo at the request of the Port Master by the pollution control vessel ‘Clara Campoamor’. Stains of fuel from the bulk carrier OS35 that remains semi-sunken next to the Strait of Gibraltar. Other barrier placement operations will continue around OS35 and elsewhere in the vicinity of the ship, and “in any area that requires additional protection as soon as operationally possible”, according to the Government of Gibraltar, from where they add that ” The key priority in preparing for the operation to remove fuel oil from OS35 Tank 1 is to have successful layered containment to the highest possible level around the vessel.” The objective of this operational task is to “try to avoid as much as possible the discharge of the largest possible amount of free floating oil and uncontrolled seepage into open waters”. Once this containment is established to the satisfaction of the Port Master, the rescuers will be able to proceed with the work of removing as much fuel “as cleanly as possible from the vessel’s Tank 1.” Continued seepage ‘inevitable’ Current advice is that while salvagers wait to remove fuel from the ship, the ship’s fuel tanks will ‘stay dirty’. This, according to the Government of Gibraltar, means that there will be residual amounts of fuel in the tanks and, as a result – “given the deformed state of some parts of the ship’s hull” – it will be “almost inevitable that small quantities of pollutants from OS35 during the period that it remains ‘in situ'”. The deployment of barriers in layers around the ship “will prevent the maximum number of leaks in open waters, but will not provide a hermetic containment layer, which is not technologically possible to provide,” according to the Government of the Rock, which adds that, to In this regard, it should be noted that “all salvage operation options are not optimal in terms of absolute pollution control.” The goal of layered containment is to “minimize seepage” but, according to Gibraltar, “it is unrealistic to expect that some seepage will not occur outside the barriers into the surrounding open water, despite the best strategy possible layered containment”, so that “this situation will continue for the rest of the summer and until the salvage operation is completed”. Oil slick removal The Government of Gibraltar indicates that defoaming operations are “continuous, but have limits to what they can achieve”. Skimming inside the barrier near the ship “is succeeding”, and the veil in open water is “currently light, which means it needs to be corralled into denser patches in order to be picked up”. To assist in these operations, a small purpose-built catamaran launch, which can operate 24 hours a day, is en route from Cadiz with a double crew and is expected to arrive and be operational this Saturday. This vessel is capable of skimming any oil it encounters directly, including the light cap in open water. It will target the contamination zones identified by the overflights carried out to assist the GPA by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and the helicopter deployed by the Port of Algeciras in support of ongoing operations. The GPA “is gathering all available resources that can help the operational tasks required by the Port Authority in support of ongoing rescue and pollution prevention and control operations.” The Port of Algeciras, for its part, “continues to work in close coordination with the GPA to establish whether any of the available assets are adequate and to determine the deployment deadlines.” Clean-up operations on land The Government of Gibraltar also notes that the Department of the Environment is leading the clean-up operations on land and is actively working with volunteers and non-governmental organizations “to coordinate and manage the clean-up efforts of the coastline in a safe way”. . A shoreline cleanup is being planned for this Sunday in collaboration with green organizations ESG, GONHS and the Nautilus Project. People who wish to volunteer should write to the Department of the Environment, at the email address [email protected], with their name, contact details and any particular skills or experience that may be relevant. Finally, sightings of oiled seabirds must be reported to the EPRU at +350 58009620.