There are fears of an environmental disaster off Gibraltar after the hull of a stranded ship carrying more than 400 tonnes of fuel broke apart after colliding with a natural gas tanker.
The Gibraltar government announced on Wednesday afternoon (31/8) that the ship OS 35, loaded with steel bars and carrying more than 400 tonnes of fuel, collided with the ADAM LNG, which has only a surface dent, as the former was moving to leave the bay on Monday night.
The ship, which belongs to Tuvalu, Oceania, lies on the seabed just 17 meters from the shore, while the 30 people on board have already been removed and taken to Vlissingen, Holland.
No one was injured in the ship crash, but it forced the closure of the busy shipping port on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula for four hours.
A “breath” from the shores of Gibraltar
Panoramic photos from the Maxar satellite show that the ship is within “breathing distance” of the coast of Gibraltar, which scares the very idea of oil spilling into the sea.
Impossible to remove the oil from the ship
Gibraltar’s government said efforts to remove the oil from the ship have so far failed, the hull has broken and the ship is likely to begin breaking apart.
“There is a huge risk of this happening. For this reason, urgent efforts were being made to remove the fuel from the ship. This has not yet been possible,” the UK state’s government said.
“OS 35 is already surrounded by a sea barrier which should contain any oil spill that may occur. No oil leakage appears to have occurred. The situation is constantly being monitored.”
All work in the port of Gibraltar is currently suspended to focus all resources on this emergency.