WRECKAGE removers have taken out over half of the cargo of steel inside the stricken bulk carrier beached 700 metres from Gibraltar’s coastline.
By the end of March 16, the Gibraltar Port Authority reported that cranes had extracted more than 17,000 tonnes of cargo from the stricken ship.
The OS 35 has been lying in the shallows 700 metres from the iconic Catalan Bay since the end of August when it was forced aground after a collision.
Less than 16,000 tonnes of steel remain inside the cargo hold.
Cranes are now removing about 600 to 900 tonnes of cargo daily.
The next stage will be the break-up and removal of the ship’s hull.
A new barge that can sink itself to scoop up the hull and take it from the area is now heading to Gibraltar from Rotterdam.
The Fjord will arrive at the end of March.
“I am pleased with the progress the salvage teams are making in terms of cargo removal from the OS35,” Captain of the Port John Ghio said.
“The fact the semi-submersible Fjord is on its way to Gibraltar is also very positive
“This put us in a position to remove the wreckage as soon as we are physically able to do so without delays.”
A number of easterly storms battered the beached ship during February and March.
They sent tarballs of oil hurtling toward Gibraltar beaches propelled by huge waves and howling winds.
Contractors P&I club cleaned up the oil from Eastern Beach, Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay.
It also offered help to La Linea authorities that had beaches affected by the pollution.
Meanwhile, the original gash on the port side that led to the OS 35 sinking has now extended to the starboard side.
The ship is now only being held together by the very bottom of the hull, known as the bilge keel.