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Nautilus project teenagers assist with Rosia Bay oil spill clean-up

Photos by Johnny Bugeja.

by Benedict Vasquez

Local teenagers in The Nautilus Project (TNP) on Thursday continued vital work to clean-up Rosia Bay after liquefied petroleum gas carrier Gas Venus spilled oil while taking on fuel.

The group of passionate teenagers, decked in disposable plastic overalls, engaged in enervating work from 8am, working in three-hour shifts.

Despite their lack of experience, the teenagers enthusiastically contributed by patrolling the surrounding coast to assess which areas were the most contaminated or by tackling the oil spill head on, scrubbing oil off stones with towels.

They were joined by professionals from Brightside Services Ltd to help clean the Rosia Bay shoreline of oil.

Set up in 2016, The Nautilus Project is a charity focused on educating the public on local marine environmental issues and the conservation projects that aim to solve them, providing members with the tools and experience they need to contribute themselves.

They’ve seen the recent oil spill as not only an opportunity to help local conservation efforts, but to provide a hands-on learning experience to those enrolled in the program.

“The purpose is to give kids as much real-life experience as possible, which will then enable them to be well ready and go out and be useful members of society,” said the NGO’s Lewis Stagnetto.

“For the help of our coastline, we want to help the youth initiate action where required.”

“There is, however, always more work to do.”

Some of the teenagers have joined TNP while they work towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards, others see it as an opportunity to gain experience in the field.

Yet everyone working with The Nautilus Project has a shared altruistic desire to keep Gibraltar’s shores and waters clean.

As from August 10, the youth have been working to clear a different, less hazardous, section of the Rosia Bay shoreline.

The charity offers a range of opportunities to help them achieve this and caters courses to the interests of the individual; from artists interested in creating promotional material and spreading awareness, to those interested in leading scuba explorations; The Nautilus Project helps subsidize costs to pave a pathway for anyone interested in protecting marine environments, whatever form their endeavours may take.

“We see where your interests lie, what you’re capable of doing and we start building skills in from there,” Mr Stagnetto said.

Benedict Vasquez is a student on work experience with the Chronicle.

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