Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 11:01
The OS 35 bulk carrier which was beached off Catalan Bay after colliding with another ship as it manoeuvred to leave Gibraltar Port last summer has sustained further damage in the recent storms.
A survey has shown that the original crack in the hull has now extended to the Port side and the two parts of the ship are now only tenuously held together by very bottom part of its structure, known as the bilge keel. The vessel has not shifted from its position on the seabed but has become embedded deeper in the sand.
Divers have reported that all four tanks in its Fuel Tank 1 section have suffered damage but the light sheening that has resulted is being contained within the protective boom around the ship.
The authorities had expected damage to the accommodation block and the hull in the storms, but as the interior had already been stripped and the ship unloaded before the onset of the bad weather, this is not considered a problem.
Between 600 and 900 tonnes of cargo are being removed from the OS 35 daily and around 11,000 tonnes (one-third of the total load) have been taken off so far.
The timescale for the removal of the wreck has not been affected by this recent damage, and the Captain of the Port, John Ghio, has confirmed that the removal of as much oil as possible in advance of the storms and the complete stripping of the accommodation, together with the decision to sink the wreck in a controlled manner and secure it in place, gave the OS 35 the maximum possible stability to withstand the winter storms as far as possible.
"Overall, I’m pleased that works continue to progress well, with cargo removal remaining as the current priority," he said.
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