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Divers prepare to plug source of OS 35 residual oil leak

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Divers have identified the gap through which residual oil is escaping from the wreck of the OS 35 and on Saturday will work to patch it.

In its latest update, the Gibraltar Government said the situation had improved on Friday, with less oil seeping from the vessel or escaping from a boom surrounding the wreck.

Most of the fuel that the OS 35 was carrying for its own consumption was pumped off the vessel but rough weather at the weekend released some residual volumes that remained on board.

“Divers have identified the point at which the oil is escaping the vessel and making its way to the surface,” the government said.

“The oil that is escaping the vessel is likely to be unpumpable residues that remained in Tank 1 or the surrounding pipework.”

“An operation to patch the gap at deck level will begin tomorrow [meaning Saturday].”

“This will allow dive teams to further investigate the situation, determine the exact source of the oil and discuss additional measures that may be necessary.”

Separately, the Department of Environment, together with teams from GJBS and volunteers from the ESG and the Nautilus Project, will begin a clean-up operation at Seven Sisters on Saturday.

The area, which is rich in marine life, became heavily soiled with oil earlier this week.

The remainder of Gibraltar’s coastline remains largely oil-free and clean-up teams are effectively managing the limited number of tar balls that are discovered during the daily shoreline assessments.

The Gibraltar Port also resumed normal operations at 3:00pm on Friday.

While some port assets remain ringfenced for the OS 35 response, the port is in a position to allow normal operations, including bunkering, to go ahead.

This position will be kept under constant review and may change as necessary.

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