AUTHORITIES have asked residents to respect the protective booms at Gibraltar beaches after one broke on Wednesday during the OS 35 wreck removal.
The Gibraltar Government said it took ‘eight people and a service boat’ to repair the boom at Sandy Bay after paddleboards and canoes ran over it.
It even delayed ‘the entire wreck removal operation which is at its most critical point’, the government said in a social media statement.
Contractors Koole Ltd started removing the OS 35 shipwreck on Tuesday as calm weather set in.
Environmental and port agencies placed booms at all beaches and around the shipwreck to protect against a new oil spill.
Port Captain John Ghio has said the moment when the stern and bow are lifted onto the Fjord semi-submersible ship brought the biggest risk of a leak.
But ‘significant numbers’ of inconsiderate paddleboarders and kayakers are now putting the whole operation at risk.
“The booms are delicate and repairs are costly and time-consuming,” the government said.
“Yesterday’s repair to the boom at Sandy Bay was an operation involving eight people and a service boat with a tender.”
The actions of a few could not only endanger the beaches at the height of the summer bathing season but also delay the lifting operation during the current window of good weather.
Easterly winds are predicted to jump again on the weekend, possibly making seas choppy but without too many waves.
It follows a winter when strong Levante storms broke the OS 35 shipwreck into two bits, releasing oil that polluted beaches and lowered water quality.
Marine protection charity The Nautilus Project said its effects could take over a decade to dissipate.
Fears that another spill could occur as the tubes at the bottom of the hull are exposed have led to the booms being deployed.