The Gibraltar Contingency Council met again at 12:30pm this afternoon following the discovery of an oil leak from the vessel OS 35. The GCC was jointly chaired by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Governor Vice Admiral Sir David Steel. The Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia, Minister for the Environment John Cortes and Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani also attended.
LEAK OF LOW SULPHUR FUEL OIL
The Captain of the Port confirmed that the leak of low sulphur fuel oil from the tank vents is fully under control.
- The priority is to corral and collect the free floating oil that has escaped the boom, as well as to remove the oil that has remained contained inside the boom.
- Both the GPA launch and the Luz de Mar from Salvamento Maritimo have deployed booms in J formation to corral the free floating oil. Both vessels are working in close cooperation with each other.
- A further 2 GPA vessels with J formation booms are en route to the scene.
- Skimmers have been deployed on board the OS 35 to collect the oil contained inside the boom.
- Skimmers have also been sent to the J formation vessels to begin to skim the oil that they corral.
- Booms have been identified to provide an additional line of protection to Catalan Bay, and also for placement on the Eastside Reclamation and on the groyne of Sandy Bay. It is hoped that these can be in place today as deployment is complex.
REMOVING FUEL, DIESEL AND LUBE OIL FROM OS 35
The GPA slops barge will be taken alongside to the Port side of the vessel, hopefully within the next hour.
The GPA is ramping up its efforts to begin to pump the fuel oil from the vessel. The timeline of this will not be known until the OS 35’s machinery can be mobilised. All other options for the removal of this fuel from the vessel are being actively explored.
The same slops barge will also be used to remove the diesel and lube oil from the OS 35. This will begin as soon as possible, and in parallel with the operation to remove the low sulphur fuel oil.
Further updates will be provided as soon as the removal of the oils begins.
There are no realistic options for pumping the fuel out of the vessel sooner.
GIBRALTAR PORT CLOSED
The Gibraltar Port remains closed in order to focus all its operational capacity on dealing with this emergency. However, some operations that have no impact on the Port’s resources necessary to be able to manage the emergency, for example the arrival of a cruise ship today, have been allowed to go ahead as planned.
The Gibraltar Contingency Council will reconvene at 6pm today or sooner if necessary.
Further updates will be provided as operationally necessary. All information available to the Government is made available to the public as soon as possible.