A bulk carrier loaded with fuel ends up stranded off Gibraltar after a collision with another ship | Spain

Gibraltar assists a bulk carrier after colliding with another ship in a maneuver at the exit of the port of Gibraltar. The ship remains stranded 200 meters from the coast of the Rock and is visible from the Levante de La Línea beach. Europa Press (Europa Press)

A bulk carrier has ended up stranded half-sunken off the coast of Gibraltar, after colliding with a methane tanker while maneuvering out of the port. The first merchant ship is loaded with 183 tons of fuel oil, 250 of diesel and 27 of lubricating oil. The Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) assures that, for the moment, the situation “remains stable” and has not reported fuel leaks. However, from the port of El Peñón they are deploying containment barriers around the ship, while a team of divers is carrying out an underwater inspection to assess the damage.

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The accident occurred at 10:10 p.m. this Monday, when the bulk carrier OS 35 collided with the methane tanker Adam LNG, while the former was maneuvering to leave the port and the latter was anchored at the western anchorage of the infrastructure, as reported by Oman Ship. Management Company, company responsible for this last ship. The Adam LNG —with the flag of the Marshall Islands— has suffered damage to the bow, but without “ingress of water or contamination”. The OS 35 -flag-bearing in Tuvalu and leaving for Vlissingen in the Netherlands- has come out worse off, so the GPA has led it to Catalan Bay, a small natural bay on the opposite side of the Rock where the port.

The bulk carrier ended up stranded in a controlled manner 200 meters from the Gibraltarian coast, with its bow sunken and perched on a sandbank 17 meters deep and listing three degrees to starboard. “It has been done as a precautionary measure to stabilize it,” sources from the Gibraltarian government told EL PAÍS. The 24 members of the crew, who have not suffered injuries, are still inside the accident ship, and pilots from the port of Gibraltar have embarked. In addition, there are tugboats from the Peñón in the area and 400 linear meters of barriers are being deployed to prevent spills, although for now the situation remains stable and there are no appreciable fuel spills, according to the same sources.

The bulk carrier is being assisted by ships from Gibraltar and the Spanish Maritime Salvage. JON NAZCA (REUTERS)

The OS 35 is loaded with steel bars, in addition to the 183 tons of fuel oil, 250 of diesel and 27 of lubricating oil that it carried for the ship’s own consumption. Efforts are focused on preventing fuels from ending up in the sea. Hence, a team of divers dependent on the port of Gibraltar are already carrying out an underwater inspection to determine the damage suffered by the hull of the bulk carrier and the options it has for its stabilization and rescue. The authorities of the Rock have requested help from the Spanish Maritime Salvage. From the institution dependent on the Ministry of Public Works they confirm that in the area they already have a ship, a salvamar and a helicopter deployed in the area, on which the authorities of the Rock have established a perimeter of exclusion to navigation of 200 meters.

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Although in the case of this accident it has not yet been confirmed that there have been spills, in February 2021 one of fuel did occur. On that occasion, an accident during the refueling of a merchant ship anchored in the vicinity of the port of Gibraltar produced a slick with at least 1,000 liters of hydrocarbon in the sea, after a technical failure in the maneuver. On that occasion, the Captaincy of Algeciras activated the Internal Maritime Plan, in coordination with the Gibraltar authorities, and barriers were placed to prevent the spill from reaching the coast of La Línea de la Concepción. The event did not become serious, although Gibraltar opened an investigation into the ship that ended in a fine of 20,000 pounds against the captain of the merchant ship.

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