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Officials at the scene of the oil spill clean contaminated rocks and rubble on the coastline Government of Gibraltar
Cleanup operation makes progress after oil spill off Gibraltar

Cleanup operation makes progress after oil spill off Gibraltar

A vessel was refuelling when one of its tanks experienced an overflow, causing oil to spill into the water

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Gibraltar

Tuesday, 8 August 2023, 19:41

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Authorities are continuing a massive cleanup following an oil spill in the Bay of Gibraltar.

Department of Environment officials have been at the scene in the Rosia Bay area supervising works to clean stranded oil from the coastline.

A vessel, Gas Venus, flying the Panamanian flag, experienced an overflow of its tanks as it was refuelling in the southern part of the Poniente anchorage on Tuesday 1 August.

The incident has forced the suspension of operations in the port since last Tuesday. The amount of oil spilt in the sea has not yet been quantified.

In a statement, the Government of Gibraltar, said substantial improvement had been made at the weekend.

"Contaminated rocks and rubble have been individually assessed, with many being removed for cleaning off-site before being returned to their original location," it said.

"Rocks containing marine life are cleaned manually on-site to minimise disruption to the coastal environment. There are currently no significant free floating sheen patches at sea. This is being constantly monitored."

The Verdemar Ecologists in Action group in Algeciras criticised the incident, saying that "it has taken less than a year" to register "another incident" in the area. It comes after the bulk carrier OS35 incident last August when a ship sank 400 metres off the coast of La Línea.

Speaking to Europa Press, Antonio Muñoz, also denounced "large-scale operations" which are being carried out around the Bay of Algeciras. He slammed the "the transfer" of "practically five million tonnes of marine oil fuel" in the Strait of Gibraltar, and that, "on many occasions, the operations are carried out without a full crew", something which he claimed as "the reason for this series of accidents".

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