Specialised assets from South America to remove OS 35 wreck
Specialised assets ordered for the removal of OS 35 have departed Suriname in South America and are expected to arrive in Gibraltar in early January.
The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, has confirmed an Anchor Handling Tug, Koole 42, and barge H283 departed from Suriname on Wednesday after taking on bunkers, stores and a crew change prior to the Atlantic crossing.
They are expected to arrive in Gibraltar at the beginning of January, weather permitting.
The tug Koole 31 and Barge H10030 are currently being prepared in Amsterdam for their departure to Gibraltar, and weather permitting will arrive before the New Year.
Simultaneously, works to remove the contents of the accommodation sections of the OS 35 are almost complete, with only the wheelhouse section of the Bridge remaining to be stripped in the next few days when weather conditions allow.
Decks A, B and C have been completely cleared of all soft furnishings, soft walls and insulation, and stripped down to their steel bulkheads.
Divers undertaking vacuuming operations have successfully removed a further 3,000 litres of oil residues from inside the hull of the vessel, which has mitigated any large releases to the sea.
The statement added that divers will continue to remove as many oil pockets as possible from within the structure of the wreck when weather conditions make it safe to do so.
Works to maintain and clean the boom that surrounds the OS 35 are continuous.
“I’m very pleased with the progress made by the caretaker salvors to remove the contents of the OS 35 in preparation for the removal of the structure of the vessel,” Capt Ghio said.
“These operations to remove oil pockets caught in the frames, as well as the stripping of the accommodation sections, has successfully prevented the potential release of large amounts of pollutants to the sea.”
“I’m equally pleased that the specialised assets required to begin to remove the vessel are now en route to Gibraltar, and the Gibraltar Port Authority are currently finalising the details of the handover of operations to a new contractor in this regard.”
“The plan for the complete removal of the wreck is progressing well and according to the agreed timelines.”