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GSD questions effectiveness of oil spill containment

Image Courtesy Of Gibraltar Chronicle

The GSD has questioned the effectiveness of the Gibraltar Government's response in containing oil spills, after cargo ship OS 35 beached on Catalan Bay.

The cargo ship has been leaking oil following a collision, with booms placed to contain any spills.

But the GSD said the oil leak raised serious question as to the adequacy of the preventative measures taken by Government in response to this incident.

“It is clear from the footage that the containment measures around the vessel have been poor and not wholly effective," Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said.

"They should have been comprehensive and fully and immediately ring-fenced the vessel at its location when the incident happened. The vessel itself was located off Catalan Bay even though the collision had not occurred there. Given that decision it was paramount that oil spill response measures were taken to effectively and entirely ringfence the vessel from the surrounding area."

"It has been reported that while the back-up resources from Oil Spill Response Limited have been called upon the equipment would not arrive in Gibraltar till Sunday. This makes no sense when the risk of an oil spill was
there from the outset. The mobilisation of equipment should have been arranged so that this was already in Gibraltar and could be deployed immediately at will."

"Clearly the Government are playing catch-up on triggering more effective measures. It calls into question the readiness of their planning and availability of equipment and resources when it is obvious that the heavy
passage of commercial shipping could at any time cause an issue which would require oil spill contingencies to be deployed. The fact that the collision occurred with an LNG vessel is in itself a serious issue and we have, thankfully, been spared a more serious incident."

"The pumping out of the fuel has started this afternoon. Again, why this could not have started earlier is questionable. Any delay when an incident happens like this is bound to be critical and can have serious and
damaging effects to the environment.”

"It is obvious that with a busy sea port such as Gibraltar there needs to be clear and effective plans in plans to deal with an incident. Numerous photographs released to the press of contingencies meetings held by the
Government are insufficient to allay concerns that more could have been done to better prepare and deal with the aftermath of this collision. We call on the government to confirm that a full and independent
investigation into the causes of the collision and the handling of the salvage and risk management operation will be carried out and the results made public so that lessons can be learned from this incident."

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