PRESS RELEASE - OS 35 Update – Clean up and mitigation efforts continue in earnest
22 Sep 2022
OS 35 Update – Clean up and mitigation efforts continue in earnest
The efforts to clean up and mitigate the impact of the escape of residual oil from the OS 35 have continued in earnest throughout the day.
NEW METHODS TRIALLED AROUND VESSEL
A special collagen material with absorbent fibres has been deployed inside the boom that surrounds the vessel as a trial to determine how it helps to stem the flow of further escape of oil from the boom. The initial results are positive and a further trial using the same material will be conducted this afternoon.
Dive teams are currently surveying the vessel in an attempt to identify the source of the continuing seepage of oil and mitigate it as far as possible.
Current indications are that the oil is currently escaping at a slower rate than it was yesterday.
PREPARATIONS TO MOBILISE CLEANUP AT SEVEN SISTERS
The Department of the Environment is in the process of constructing scaffolding for the safe access of workers and equipment to the beach at the Seven Sisters site, with a view to mobilising a full cleanup effort tomorrow.
The Department of Environment is in close contact with local NGOs in coordinating the response, and is grateful for their support.
ADVICE AGAINST FISHING
It is strongly advised that all fishing activity should be suspended until further notice and that the public should refrain from consuming locally caught seafood at this time.
The Department of Environment are collecting samples of fish and seawater for testing.
BUNKERING REMAINS SUSPENDED
Bunkering operations remain suspended whilst resources are concentrated on the response effort.
The Captain will review this stance tomorrow.
OS 35 – Update on Cleanup Operations (21/09/22)
The Captain of the Port had updated the OS 35 Recovery Coordination Group, Chaired by the Minister for the Port Vijay Daryanani, on the continued efforts to contain and mitigate the free floating oil emanating from the OS 35.
This is residual oil that remained on board the vessel after all pumpable quantities were removed from the tanks.
TACKLING FREE FLOATING OIL
Whilst the boom that surrounds the vessel continues to effectively reduce the amount of free floating oil that is able to escape, it will never be able to contain it all entirely.
The Captain of the Port continues to enjoy a cooperative and fluid working relationship with Spanish counterparts, with whom efforts to contain the free-floating oil as far as possible are being closely coordinated.
Vessels deployed by Spanish authorities have deployed at the northern end of Eastern Beach and at Europa Point in order to prevent as far as it is possible to do so the movement of oil towards the Spanish eastside coastline and into the bay.
The Gibraltar Port Authority have suspended all bunkering operations in order to focus all resources on the cleanup effort.
Assets will remain on site through the night with boom deployed in J formation with sorbent pads, to mitigate the impact of oil that escapes overnight.
The GPA’s stance will be assessed and reviewed in the morning.
The Department of the Environment’s priority today has been the assessment and mobilisation of cleanup operations at Seven Sisters, which is sadly heavily soiled with oil.
Teams from the Department of the Environment, the GPA and OSRL have been deployed to the area to explore all options to clean the area as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the oil, attempts to skim have been unsuccessful. The EPRU vessel is attempting to disperse the oil away from the Seven Sisters site through backwash methods.
Seven Sisters will remain the priority for cleanup operations over the coming days.
The Department of Environment and OSRL continue to assess the shoreline, with two full assessments conducted Wednesday.
With the exception of the Seven Sisters site, the reports are that there is little impact of oil on the shoreline.
Eastern Beach has been affected, with cleanup teams deployed today.
Catalan Bay has had limited impact, with some loose tar balls that cleanup teams were able to collect manually.
There has been very limited impact to Sandy Bay and to Little Bay.
The limited impact to Camp Bay has been cleaned through the course of the afternoon.
Cleanup teams have been deployed today to Rosia Bay, with the beach closed off to the public whilst works were ongoing.