The Gibraltar Contingency Council, jointly chaired by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Governor Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, met this afternoon 12:30pm. The Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia, Minister for the Environment John Cortes and Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani also attended.
DIESEL NOW REMOVED FROM OS 35
The Captain of the Port has confirmed that the operation to remove diesel oil from OS 35 has successfully completed.
Around 5 tonnes of diesel remains on board in the engine room tank to enable the operation of the vessel’s own machinery.
REMOVAL OF LOW SULPHUR FUEL OIL HAS BEGUN
The priority now is the removal of low sulphur fuel oil from tank 2, which has already begun.
All possible options are being actively explored in the plans to remove low sulphur fuel oil from the remaining tanks. Dedicated diving support is on scene 24/7.
TACKLING SEEPING FROM THE VESSEL
The skimming operations of oil inside the on-site boom has removed approximately 12 tonnes of a mixture of oil and water.
The amount of oil that is leaking from the vessel is significantly reduced from yesterday. This is evident from the visible sheening, rather than collections of black oil as was seen yesterday, within the boom.
The Gibraltar Port Authority plans to replace the existing boom that is attached to the OS 35 with a diamond formation boom, which will provide further resilience. This is expected to be possible tomorrow.
CLEANING UP OPEN WATER SHEEN
Every marine asset available to the GPA that is not tasked with other duties, for example the J formations, has been fitted with a sorbent boom.
Work is ongoing in earnest to clear up the sheen, particularly on the western side.
Sorbent boom is very effective but the process is very slow. It works by absorbing oil through direct contact.
6 OSRL staff members are in Gibraltar and have this morning conducted a coastal survey.
Clean-up teams have been deployed to target areas to begin the clean-up of oil from the shoreline. This will be managed by the Department of the Environment’s oil spill management team.
The Department of the Environment and the Gibraltar Port Authority are taking every possible measure both on land and at sea to minimise the environmental impact of the spill.
PROTECTING LITTLE BAY
The protection of Little Bay, and the AquaGib and MoD intakes inlets there, are the top priority in shoreline protection efforts.
These intake inlets are normally protected with a precautionary sorbent boom, which have been effective so far.
This is being bolstered through the deployment of GPA launches with further sorbent booms to Little Bay and Camp Bay.
MID HARBOUR MARINA CLOSED AND RED FLAGS AT BEACHES
A containment boom has been deployed to Mid Harbour Marina. This will be closed for the weekend to prevent damage to vessels. No vessels will be allowed to depart from the Mid Harbour Small Boats Marina.
Red flags are flying at Camp Bay and Little Bay
The Montagu Bathing Pavilion will also be closed
EFFECT ON WILDLIFE
The Department of Environment has received reports of small numbers of oiled birds.
The situation is being closely and constantly monitored and every effort is being made to minimise the harmful effects to wildlife.