Although the Government is not issuing statements on political matters until the official period of mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is over, the following is issued for information:
The Chief Minister received a briefing from the Captain of the Port on the latest developments regarding the OS 35 this afternoon at No 6 Convent Place. The Minister for Environment, John Cortes, also attended.
ANTICIPATION OF ADVERSE WEATHER
The briefing was in anticipation of the adverse weather conditions that are forecast for Sunday and Monday, and are such that may affect the structural integrity of the OS 35 in its current position.
The Gibraltar Port Authority, together with the salvors, Resolve, are exploring all realistic options to minimise pollution that may be caused as an inevitable result of adverse weather, to the maximum extent that this is possible.
REPLACEMENT OF BOOMS SURROUNDING VESSEL
The containment booms that surround the OS 35 are currently dirty and soiled, and are now themselves a source of sheening.
The outer boom will be replaced with a clean one. In periods of adverse weather, the booms will be removed, as they will be ineffective and may break up and themselves cause pollution.
BOOMS AT BEACHES
The Bathing Season has come to an end and beaches are no longer under continuous lifeguard supervision.
Booms at beaches will be removed in advance of adverse weather conditions in order to prevent them from breaking up and thereby becoming a further source of debris and contamination. The public should be aware that adverse weather conditions may result in pollution from the OS 35 making its way onto the shores of our beaches. Any such pollution should be reported to the Environmental Protection & Research Unit on 58009620.
RESIDUES AND TRAPPED FUEL
As previously advised by the Captain of the Port, there are still expected to be pockets of unrecoverable, unpumpable fuel residues onboard the vessel that are and will continue to be an ongoing source of sheening. This was expected and is unpreventable.
In the event of adverse weather, it is realistic to expect that these may release.
There is a likelihood that swells will push some of this fuel towards the shoreline.
The Captain of the Port and HMGoG Departments and Agencies are working to mitigate the effects of adverse weather conditions as far as possible. Further details of these plans will be publicised in coming days.
The Gibraltar Port and the Department of Environment will conduct monitoring operations throughout adverse weather conditions in order to mobilise response and clean-up operations as soon as they are possible and viable.