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Camp Bay and Rosia bay closed after oil spill

Photos by Johnny Bugeja/Eyleen Gomez

Camp Bay and Rosia Bay have been closed following an oil spill in the Bay of Gibraltar on Tuesday morning caused by an overflow during a bunkering operation off the South Mole.

The Gibraltar Port Authority despatched numerous anti-pollution assets early Tuesday following a report that oil had spilt into the sea as the gas carrier Gas Venus took on fuel a short distance from shore in the western anchorage.

Officials are liaising with Spanish authorities as they assess the extent of the spill and vessels work to contain and mop up free floating oil.

The spill is of heavy fuel oil of the type used to power ship engines.

Initially, the bulk of the oil was being pushed out to sea by wind, tide and currents.

But by midday, some of the oil had already washed ashore in Gibraltar.

Volunteers from marine charity The Nautilus Project were monitoring the situation and reported thick patches of oil on the sea and rocks in areas of the coastline at the southern end of Gibraltar.

"We have only just seen the back of the OS 35 incident and the oil damage it has caused around the coastline," said Lewis Stagnetto, marine biologist and co-founder of The Nautilus Project.

"Now we have had a new incident not even a year since the last one."

"As long as bunkering activities remain in the Bay will have to contend with the plethora of environmental damages it causes. Another sad day."

The Department of Environment is closely monitoring developments and lifeguards are on alert for oil on the western shoreline. Port operations have been suspended.

Red flags are flying at Camp Bay and Little Bay and bathing is prohibited.

Caution is also advised for those at sea on pleasure boats and when fishing from a boat or from shore.


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