By Aakanksha Nigam
The OS 35 cargo ship collided with a liquefied natural gas carrier, prompting the Gibraltar authorities to declare a “serious incident.” Bulk carriers are used by businesses to transport bulk commodities like grain, and it is believed that the gasoline that leaked came from the ship itself.
The bulk carrier was purposefully grounded 700 metres from the coastline in the shallower water east of Gibraltar as it started to descend to stop it from sinking in the Bay of Gibraltar. It was carrying 215 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, 250 tonnes of diesel fuel, and 27 tonnes of lubricant oil. 24 crew members and 6 surveyors were among the 30 passengers who were all evacuated.
Three days after colliding with a tanker carrying liquefied gas, the government of Gibraltar reported that a damaged bulk carrier had spilled a minor amount of heavy fuel oil into the water.
The minor amount of oil that escaped, according to the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA), had crossed the boundary of a boom that had been set up to confine any oil. To stop any further expansion, port officials in the tiny British colony at the southernmost tip of Spain intend to set up a second barrier.
The GPA declared that the removal of the oil that had been kept confined inside the boom as well as corralling and collecting the free-floating oil that had escaped the boom were the top priorities.
Meanwhile, the authority is increasing its efforts to pump fuel oil, diesel oil, and lube oil from the vessel.
Authorities stated that efforts were being made to salvage a cargo ship that collided with a natural gas tanker earlier this week off Gibraltar and has “crumpled” and is spewing a “substantial” amount of oil. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told Spain’s TVE broadcaster on Thursday that the operation to remove some 500 metric tons of the fuel from tanks on board the ship should take about 50 hours using the ship’s own pumps.
Although divers assigned to the ship have quickly plugged two valves in the fuel tanks where the leak originated, the environmental effects of the spill are not yet known.
The incident took place while OS 35 was preparing to leave the Bay of Gibraltar. The vessel carrying liquefied natural gas was unharmed.
Since the accident, the busy port has been mostly shut down so that authorities may concentrate their efforts on the crisis.