Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Salvors monitor OS 35 wreck as weather conditions deteriorate

The wreck of the OS35 on Monday. In the background is the heavy lift vessel that, in time, will ferry the sections of the wreck to a recycling yard in the Netherlands. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Salvors involved in the operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35 are closely monitoring the impact of adverse weather this week on the ship’s broken structure and will review their plans if need be.

At the weekend, an anti-pollution boom was once again removed ahead of heavy swells and strong levanter wind that impaired its effectiveness and risked damaging it and creating secondary pollution.

The wreck, which was broken into two pieces in a storm earlier this year, remained stable as of Monday afternoon.

But with its cargo of steel bars now mostly unloaded, the wreck’s empty cargo holds means it is lighter and more susceptible to the impact of bad weather.

“The Gibraltar Port Authority continues to monitor the OS 35 as the weather conditions deteriorate,” a spokesperson for No.6 Convent Place told the Chronicle.

“The plan for the wreck's removal is under constant consideration and will be reviewed if necessary once the impact of these heavy swells can be determined.”

The operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35 initially envisaged cutting the hull into two pieces and placing them onto a semi-submersible heavy lift vessel to be taken to a shipyard for scrapping.

Nature itself has done the work of cutting the wreck in two but, for now, the remainder of the plan prepared by the Dutch company Koole Contractors and approved by the GPA remains intact.

The removal operation has as its top priority safety and minimising the risk of environmental pollution, and the aim is to complete it by May 30 in line with the schedule agreed with the GPA.

Last year ahead of winter, salvors worked to strip the inside of the sunken ship of all material and fittings to minimise the risk of secondary pollution.

The OS 35 was also carrying 183 tonnes of heavy fuel oil for its own consumption, alongside 250 tonnes of diesel and 27 tonnes of lubricant oil.

All of those fuels were removed during early stages of the salvage operation but the wreck still contained residual coatings in the fuel tanks and pipes and salvors had warned from the outset that further pollution was possible.

Earlier this month, heavy weather led to the release of some residual oil from the wreck but a swift clean-up operation on shore mitigated any damage to the environment.

Most Read


The darkest chapter

Download The App On The iOS Store