The Gibraltar Contingency Council, jointly chaired by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Governor Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, met early this afternoon at No 6 Convent Place. Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia, Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani and Minister for Environment John Cortes, were also in attendance.
The Captain of the Port John Ghio briefed the Council on logistical and operational developments overnight and through the course of this morning.
THE OS 35
The situation on board remains stable. The crew are well, are adequately provisioned with food and water, and are producing their own electricity using an auxiliary generator. There are no appreciable risk to life issues affecting the crew at this stage.
The vessel can now be confirmed as sitting 700m off the shoreline of Catalan Bay – which differs from initial estimates of 200m.
There have been no further escapes of hydraulic substances or any escape of fuel in the period since the last update report.
OWNERSHIP & OPERATION OF THE OS 35
The operators of the OS 35 are Old Stone Management Ltd, managed from Pireus in Greece.
The P&I Club of the vessel is QBE Europe SA/NV (‘QBE’). This is the insurance entity that takes over when there are accidents involving its members. QBE have agreed terms with and appointed Resolve Marine Services (Gibraltar) Ltd as the salvors of the vessel.
The focus of the next stages of the salvage operation is on environmental protection to protect the coasts in Gibraltar and neighbouring states and jurisdictions.
The Gibraltar Port Authority has activated its retainer with Oil Spill Response Limited.
OSRL is a UK established, non-profit entity set up by BP, with support from other oil companies, in the aftermath of oil spill disasters. It is established to lead in the best practices to deal with oil spills or the risks of them. As one of the industry leaders in dealing with oil spill response, OSRL is retained by HM Government of Gibraltar and the GPA to assist at short notice in the event of Tier 2 and Tier 3 oil spills in Gibraltar’s waters, or the risk thereof.
The GPA has called on OSRL to step up its preparedness in the event that there is a spill arising from the grounding of the OS 35. Two technical advisers from OSRL are now in Gibraltar.
The Department of the Environment is similarly stepping up its preparedness planning as a precautionary measure.
The GPA and the Government of Gibraltar are seeking – insofar as may be possible – to reduce to the minimum the chances of any pollution, or any other negative consequences, arising from the grounding of the OS 35 for the environment in Gibraltar or in the neighbouring coastal states.
THE FUEL REMOVAL PROCESS
Operational and technical plans are being finalised to berth a bunker barge alongside the OS 35 to begin the offloading of low sulphur fuel oil, diesel and lube oil.
This operation will begin as soon as is safely possible. The commencement of operations will be confirmed publicly.
It is estimated that the operation will involve approximately 50 hours of pumping, given that the pumps aboard the OS 35 are able to pump approximately 15 tonnes per hour.
This operation will be carried out under the strictest supervision to seek to avoid any spillage in the execution of it. It will be an operation which will be sensitive and which will be weather dependant.
The protection of the environment in Gibraltar in and in the neighbouring coastal states will be the predominant concern in the planning and execution of these fuel removal operations.
Updates on the progress of removing fuel from the vessel will be provided as soon as is operationally possible.
THE QUANTITIES OF FUEL INVOLVED
The quantities of fuel in the vessels fuel tanks can now be more exactly confirmed as being:
- 215 tonnes of heavy fuel oil (approximately 32 tonnes more than previously stated);
- 250 tonnes of diesel fuel; and
- 27 tonnes of lube oil.
THE BOOM AROUND OS 35
The current boom around the OS 35 will be replaced in coming days with a new boom designed to be more effective for the protection necessary in the event of any spillage occurring as a result of the operation to remove the fuel onboard the vessel. A secondary boom, to operate as a double filter, will be added in a ‘J’ formation around the vessel.
Additional spare boom capacity is being made ready in the event that it were necessary to deploy more coastal protection.
In parallel, this morning a team of divers began to take measurements to enable the construction of a cofferdam to patch the sizeable gash on the hull of the OS 35.
The simultaneous work streams to offload fuel and begin construction of the cofferdam are being undertaken in parallel to ensure that progress is as fast as possible.
The salvage operation for the construction and fitting of the cofferdam is likely to take a number of weeks. In that period, the vessel is being permanently monitored, 24/7, by Gibraltar’s maritime agencies, including the GPA, Customs, and the Environmental Research and Protection Unit.
THE ADAM LNG
Having determined that the ADAM LNG has suffered no damage that render it unable to proceed on its voyage, and having already provided statements for the ongoing investigation into the collision as required by the Captain of the Port, the vessel has been cleared to depart Gibraltar.
CROSS BORDER COMMUNICATION & COOPERATION
Communication with the Captain of the Port of Algeciras remains fluid, and a Salvamento Maritimo helicopter conducted a flyover at midday today as part of the monitoring operation.
In this respect, the Chief Minister has also been in contact with the Mayor of La Linea, Juan Franco, in relation to the risks arising on the Eastside, including the potential transboundary effects of this, and how these are being minimised and mitigated to ensure the protection of the marine and beach environments in the area for the benefit of both our populations.
The Chief Minister has, further, also been in contact with the President of the Junta de Andalucia to think him for his kind offer of assistance in relation to this incident, to thank him for the continued cooperation forthcoming from the Captain of the Port of Algeciras and to reassure him that the operations on foot are designed to avoid any lasting, negative environmental impact both in Gibraltar and the surrounding coasts. A full update on progress of the operation has also been provided.
The GCC will meet again tomorrow at 1100hrs or sooner if required. A further update will issue thereafter or sooner if necessary.
 OLD STONE MANAGEMENT LTD, Akti Miaouli 71, 18537 Piraeus, Greece. Contact M: +961 81 637 720 P: +30 699 217 8448 F:+302104102592 E: firstname.lastname@example.org / Ism.email@example.com. The registered owner of the vessel is a company called ‘OLDSTONE CARGO LTD’ registered in Belize.