The Gibraltar Contingency Council, chaired by the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, has met to discuss the break of the Bulk Carrier OS 35.
Given the latest development affecting the vessel and the fact that it remains loaded with fuel, on the advice of the Captain of the Port and the other members of the GCC, a Major Incident (MAJAX) has now been declared under the provisions of the Civil Contingencies Act.
It is important to note that Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and its partner agencies have been working towards this posture throughout.
MAJAX has now been officially declared to allow for all available resources to be directed to dealing with this emergency.
All other day-to-day operations at Gibraltar Port have been stopped to ensure availability of resources.
As a result:
- all GPA service craft are on standby;
- all booms at the GPA’s disposal have been mobilised;
- 2 vessels will be deployed in U formations with booms to start corralling any oil that might spill from the vessel and that might leak from the primary boom;
- an additional boom will be deployed along the coastline that is at risk of direct impact; and
- the salvage master has been authorised by the Captain of the Port to re-board the vessel to gather facts, together with the P&I on-scene commander.
There has been a substance leak from the vessel as a result of the movement arising from its break. Initial investigations indicate that this is lube oil. This lube oil is currently contained within the primary boom and all efforts will be made to remove it from the sea using a skimmer and sludge barge before it is able to leak from within the boom.
The salvage master has confirmed to the Captain of the Port that all fuel valves were isolated before the break occurred.
The priority of the Captain of the Port and of the Government of Gibraltar is to mitigate and minimise any environmental impact.
The Captain of the Port of Algeciras has been briefed and the Salvamento Maritimo helicopter is conducting a flyover at 8:00pm. Other Salvamento Maritimo assets are assisting also.
The Chief Minister has briefed the Leader of the Opposition on the latest developments and the declaration of the Major Incident. The Chief Minister has also briefed the President of the Junta de Andalucia, Snr Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, the President of the Cadiz Deputacion and Mayor of San Roque Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix, and the Mayor of La Linea, Juan Franco.
The Gibraltar Contingency Council will reconvene at 9pm this evening or sooner if required.