BARGES have begun to pump out both diesel and fuel oil from the stricken cargo ship that is lying off Gibraltar’s coast since early Tuesday morning.
At the same time, the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) is using skimmers to suck away fuel oil mixed with seawater after it leaked into the Mediterranean Sea earlier in the day.
The Royal Gibraltar Police arrested a man in connection with the OS 35 beaching at 12.40pm on Thursday.
Although the police did not specifically say who he was, local TV station GBC said it ‘understands this man to be the captain of the ship’.
This latest recovery effort follows the ‘crumpling’ of the OS 35 bulk carrier 700 metres from Catalan Bay after it hit the ADAM LNG when it left the Bay of Gibraltar on Monday night.
The Gibraltar Contingency Council (GCC) met at 12.30am on Thursday morning to discuss the next moves.
The main priority is to carry on collecting the fuel oil and low sulphur diesel from inside and outside the tanker to prevent a major spill in the area, the government said.
The GPA launch and the larger Salvamento Maritimo ship ‘Luz de Mar’ from Algeciras are working together to remove the free-floating oil with J formation sea barriers, known as ‘booms’.
Two other other GPA boats with J-shaped booms headed to the scene to help in the clean-up effort.
The OS 35 pumps are being used to extract the oil and diesel from the tanks located around the ship. This process could take up to three days, the government said on Wednesday.
Gibraltar port remains closed to focus all its resources to deal with the accident.
The next GCC meeting jointly headed by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Governor Vice Admiral Sir David Steel will take place on Thursday evening.