Gibraltar warns of a “slowdown” in the emptying of fuel from the accident ship

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 presided this Saturday at noon a meeting of the Gibraltar Contingency Council -which will meet again in the afternoon-, which was also attended by the Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph García; the Minister of the Port, Vijay Daryanani, and the Minister of the Environment, John Cortés. There is currently a water inlet in the engine room of OS35, 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 room of machines, and “work is being done to eliminate any non-essential material that could increase contamination levels”, as also indicated by Gibraltar, whose government clarifies that “the latest reports suggest that the entry of water may be under control”. Extraction of fuel from tank 2Likewise, 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 quantities of fuel are now being extracted”. is deploying “additional levels of containment” layered around OS35. This involves an ongoing operation to deploy a kilometer of boom 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’. Other boom placement operations will continue. around OS35 and in other places in the vicinity of the ship, and “in any area that requires additional protection as soon as it is operationally possible”, according to the Government of Gibraltar, from where they add that “the key priority in the preparation of the operation for the extraction of fuel oil from Tank 1 of the OS35 is to have successful containment by layers up to the highest possible level around the ship”. The objective of this operational task is “to try to avoid as much as possible the spillage of as much of free-floating oil and uncontrolled seepage into open water”. Continued seepage is “inevitable” Current advice is that while f the rescuers hope to be able to remove the fuel from the ship, the ship’s fuel tanks “will still be 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 the OS35 during the period that it remains ‘in situ. possible to provide”, according to the Government of the Rock, which adds that, in this regard, it should be noted that “all the options of the rescue operation are not optimal in terms of absolute control of contamination”. The objective of containment by layers is to “limit leaks as much as possible”, but, as they indicate from Gibraltar, “it is not realistic to expect that some leaks will not occur outside the barriers in the waters to surrounding open areas, despite the best possible layered containment strategy”, so that “this situation will continue for the rest of the summer and until the salvage operation is completed”. Removal of the oil layer The Government of Gibraltar indicates that defoaming operations are “continuous, but they have limits to what they can achieve.” Skimming within the boom near the ship “is succeeding,” and the veil in open water is “currently light, meaning it needs to be corralled into denser patches in order to be picked up.” To aid in these operations, a A small purpose-built catamaran, 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.