NewsPumping heavy fuel oil from distressed vessels is becoming...

Pumping heavy fuel oil from distressed vessels is becoming increasingly difficult

Created: 09/03/2022 Updated: 9/3/2022, 5:48 p.m

Kollision vor Gibraltar
The freighter ran aground after the collision. © Nono Rico/EUROPA PRESS/dpa

New bad news from the damaged freighter off Gibraltar. The engine room has filled with water. This will delay emptying the tanks. That’s not the only bad news.

GIBRALTAR – Work to pump out fuel from a freighter grounded off Gibraltar suffered a setback on Saturday. The engine room of the “OS 35” was full of water, said the government of the British Overseas Territory at the southern tip of Spain.

The on-board systems of the 128-meter-long bulk carrier are no longer available for pumping, and emptying the tanks will now take longer than planned. It is also to be expected that more oil will get into the sea and onto the coasts.

Some beaches of the monkey rock, as Gibraltar is also called, as well as in neighboring Spain had previously been polluted with fuel, iridescent oil streaks could be seen on the sea. The authorities imposed bathing and fishing bans. Helpers cleaned coastal areas and seabirds contaminated with oil.

Grounded after collision

The “OS 35” collided with a liquid gas tanker late Monday evening for an unknown reason and was then grounded in shallow water off a beach on the east side of Gibraltar due to water ingress.

The authorities emphasized that the salvage forces were particularly concerned about emptying the front tank with 126 tons of heavy fuel oil because the bow was under water. There is also a risk that the ship, whose hull has already warped, could break into two parts due to the changing load distribution during pumping.

250 tons of diesel on board had already been pumped out on Friday except for a remainder of five tons for the operation of the ship’s systems. There were also 27 tons of lubricants on board.

A crew member of the “OS 35” arrested by the Gibraltar police has since been released on bail, as the newspaper “Gibraltar Chronicle” wrote, citing the police. According to unconfirmed media reports, it is said to be the captain of the ship flying the flag of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. dpa

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