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OS35 wreck safely removed from Gibraltar waters

The heavy lift vessel Fjord is pictured as it sails from Gibraltar carrying thr wreck of the OS35. Photo courtesy of Gibraltar Government.

The semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel Fjord sailed from Gibraltar in the early hours of Friday morning carrying the wreck of the OS35 to a recycling yard in the Netherlands.

The OS35 was beached off Catalan Bay after a collision with the liquefied natural gas carrier Adam LNG off Europa Point in August last year.

The OS 35, which was loaded with steel rebars, was grounded after it began taking on water.

During the early stages of the casualty, heavy fuel oil escaped from the cargo ship and washed up in Gibraltar and the nearby Spanish coastline.

But the decision to ground the stricken vessel in shallow water off Catalan Bay prevented any loss of life and allowed salvors the best chance to mitigate environmental damage and successfully complete the wreck removal operation nearly a year later.

The response to the maritime casualty included close cooperation throughout with Spanish authorities who made salvage and aerial assets available to assist their counterparts in Gibraltar.

“I’m delighted to confirm that the long and challenging operation to remove the wreck of the OS35 from Gibraltar has been brought to a safe conclusion,” said John Ghio, the Captain of the Port.

“I’d like to sincerely thank all those involved from the outset: all the dedicated staff at the Gibraltar Port Authority, the Department of Environment, our partner agencies and NGOs, our counterparts within the Spanish Authorities and stakeholders across the border, and the contractors Koole.”

“Not least, I’d like to express my gratitude to the public, particularly the residents and users of Catalan Bay, for their understanding at each stage of this long and delicate process.”

The Minister for the Port, Vijay Daryanani, said: “I’d like to commend and congratulate the Captain of the Port on this final milestone in what has been a long and often challenging, but overall safe and successful salvage of the OS 35 wreck.”

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: “The Gibraltar Port Authority and in particular the Captain of the Port deserve recognition from His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar for the excellent work they have done in dealing with the issue of the OS35.”

“From inception of the incident to the final removal of the wreck their work has been praised throughout the industry and from across the frontier and across the Bay.”

“Our frequent critics have become our partners in dealing with the issues that have arisen and that international support and recognition has been remarkable.”

"Captain John Ghio has kept the media, the community as a whole, residents of Catalan Bay as well as the municipal and Port authorities across the Campo de Gibraltar fully informed of all steps being taken and all mitigation measures being taken to minimise pollution.”

“This has ensured that there has been wide public awareness of every stage of the operation to successfully remove the wreck.”

“I congratulate John and all of the members of the Gibraltar Port Authority that have been involved and have supported the work for the removal of the wreck as well as all the local contractors involved.”

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