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Clean-up focused on Seven Sisters ‘heavily soiled’ with residual oil from OS 35

Clean-up operations on Thursday were focused on Seven Sisters, an area rich in marine diversity that became heavily soiled with oil.

The Department of the Environment’s priority on Thursday was the assessment and mobilisation of clean-up operations at the site.

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,” No.6 Convent Place said following a meeting of the OS 35 Recovery Coordination Group chaired by the Minister for the Port, Vijay Daryanani.

The Environmental Research & Protection Unit's vessel attempted to disperse the oil away from the Seven Sisters site through backwash methods.

Seven Sisters will remain the priority for clean-up operations over the coming days.

At sea, efforts continued to collect floating residual oil released from the wreck of the OS 35 during rough weather over the weekend.

“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,” No.6 Convent Place said.

“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 taken station 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 eastern coastline or into the Bay.

The Gibraltar Port Authority suspended all bunkering operations in order to focus all resources on the clean-up 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 on Thursday morning.

The Department of Environment and OSRL also continued to assess the shoreline, with two full assessments conducted yesterday.

With the exception of the Seven Sisters site, there appeared to be little impact of oil on the shoreline.
Eastern Beach was affected, with clean-up teams deployed yesterday. Catalan Bay has seen limited impact, with some loose tar balls that clean-up 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 was cleaned through the course of yesterday afternoon.

Clean-up teams were deployed today to Rosia Bay, with the beach closed off to the public while works were ongoing.

Cleaning operations were also underway in La Linea, where some oil washed ashore on the city’s eastern seaboard.