Pumping of oil from Gibraltar shipwreck continues after busy weekend cleaning up spill after-effects

SALVAGE crews continue to remove all oil and chemicals from the stricken ship off the Gibraltar coast on Monday, the government reported.

Strong winds have made life difficult, moving around the oil barriers from their places around the ship and in nearby areas.

Most of the efforts focused on extracting the lubrication oil from the engine room tanks after the boom protecting Catalan Bay was blown on to the beach.

It followed a busy weekend for the local port authority, environmental department and NGOs as they tried to clean up oil from land and sea.

Authorities chose to fly red flags at Sandy Bay and Little Bay on Monday after patches of oil were noticed at both bathing areas.

They also found thick black oil at archeological important UN World Heritage Site, Gorham’s Cave, as well as sheen at Rosia Bay.

The Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority closed the Montagu Bathing Pavilion on Sunday after oil was spotted in some areas.

NGOs and volunteers worked all weekend to remove the oil from the beaches and rocks around Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, divers discovered and patched up leaks into the engine room and cargo holds.

Os 35 Labores De Extracción Noche Del 4 Al 5 De Septiembre (2)
Aerial photo shows the how much of the oil has been contained inside the primary and secondary booms around the ship

Clean-up continues

Pumping of the lubrication oil followed the successful diesel and fuel oil extraction from the OS 35.

Even though salvers have remained calm throughout the operation, they are aware bad weather could come in a few weeks.

In Gibraltar this normally takes the shape of strong Levante storms that bring large waves that could cause chaos in this precarious situation.

This is why crews removed ‘any potential additional future contaminants including chemicals, paint and soft furnishings,’ the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.

With some oil reported across the border in the Spanish town of La Linea too, authorities there have played a key part in the rescue plan.

“Reports from Salvamento Maritimo overflights indicate that the bay is clear of oiling or free-floating sheening,” said the Rock’s government.

“The situation on the east side with regards to free floating sheen and oil has also improved significantly, although there continue to be some patches in the area.

“The catamaran Horizon is proving very effective at skimming free-floating sheen and will be operational 24/7,” the statement added.

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