A clean-up operation is under way to collect the spillage of heavy fuel oil. / sur

Gibraltar police confirm one person arrested following ship collision and subsequent oil spill

There are unconfirmed reports on the Rock that the individual detained is the captain of the OS 35 bulk carrier

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

The police in Gibraltar have confirmed that they have arrested one individual in connection with Monday night's shipping accident, when the bulk carrier OS 35 was involved in what was described at the time as a 'minor collision' with another vessel, the ADAM LNG. The RGP have given no other details, but there have been unconfirmed reports in the Gibraltar media that the person detained is the captain of the ship.

Earlier today, Thursday 1 September, the Gibraltar government issued a press release in Spanish clarifying various aspects of the situation regarding this accident, apparently in response to incorrect information being published in the Spanish media and by some politicians.

In it, the government stated that an investigation was already under way into the collision between the two ships, and all indications were that the OS 35 had failed to comply with instructions from the Gibraltar Port authorities via the VTS system.

It also stressed that the OS 35 is a cargo ship, not a oil tanker, and was loaded with steel rebars, so the only fuel on board is the amount it needs for its own power.

Meanwhile, fuel has now begun to be pumped out of the ship, and at the same time a clean-up operation is under way after a spill of heavy fuel oil from the ship earlier today. The oil escaped after the seals of two vents were dislodged when the ship's hull crumpled yesterday evening; those vents were re-sealed, and approximately 4,000 litres of the fuel oil has been recovered from inside the boom so far.

A Gibraltar Port Authority ship and a Spanish maritime rescue ship are currently downstream from the OS 35, collecting the small amount of free floating oil which had escaped the boom. Other booms have also been put in place to prevent an environmental incident.