OS 35 Incident
OS 35 Incident
The Bulk Carrier OS 35 was involved in a collision with the Adam LNG south of Europa Point on the evening of the 29th August. The OS 35 started to sink, and was directed by the Port Authorities to the East Side of the Rock, where it was decided to beach the vessel to prevent it sinking altogether.
The bow of the vessel beached 200 metres off Catalan Bay in 17 metres depth, with the rest of the vessel above the water line. Divers were sent down to assess the damage and reported a gash of 10 metres by 4 metres on the hull.
The OS 35 was carrying 215 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, 250 tonnes of diesel fuel and 27 tonnes of lube oil. The Gibraltar Port Authority have remained at the scene and has been continuously reviewing all aspects of the situation, in collaboration with the Algeciras Port Authority. Approximately 400 metres of boom were deployed around the vessel in the event of an oil spill. Some of the lube oil from the ships cranes begun to spill into the sea and was contained by the booms, but overnight some leaked out. A further three booms were deployed with one protecting Catalan Bay beach.
On the afternoon of the 31st August, a resounding noise was heard, resulting from the hull breaking. Diesel fuel was released, and measures to contain this came into effect. Meanwhile efforts to pump out the diesel fuel continued throughout the evening and night. Although these measures were successful, a quantity of diesel fuel escaped and a plume of fuel was soon emerging from the OS 35 and reaching well beyond Europa Point and penetrating the entrance of the Bay, into Camp Bay, Little Bay and Rosia Bay.
GONHS have volunteered to help the Department of Environment who have staff qualified in oil spill response on standby to manage any incident which may involve oiled seabirds.
We have informed the press that oil spills are harmful to all forms of marine life regardless of whether the habitats are coastal or offshore. “Typically, the intertidal areas are hit hardest, causing negative long-term effects on interdependencies between species in food chains,”
Already we are seeing the effects of the diesel fuel on seabirds, with Yellow-legged Gulls impregnated with oil. The colony of Mediterranean Shags on the east side of the Rock is vulnerable, as are the concentrations of Cory’s Shearwaters that form large rafts of birds close inshore at Europa Point.
GONHS have issued a press release, (see here https://www.gonhs.org/news/press-releases/220-os-35-incident) and have informed the general public that if they see any oiled seabirds they should get in contact on 58009620. A makeshift seabird rehabilitation centre has been set up at the Environmental Protection and Research Unit's marine base at Queensway Quay.