Bulk carrier beached off East Side after collision with LNG tanker

Gibraltar Operation to lower the aft section of the beached OS 35

The environmental scenario that Gibraltar feared has materialised over the last few days when black oil leaked from the beached vessel OS35 after it was deliberately sunk in order to better resist the full brunt of easterly winds. This is, nonetheless, a far cry from the full nightmare situation that the authorities could potentially have faced when the collision took place at the end of August.

It is important to recall that the OS35 was carrying 215 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, 250 tonnes of diesel fuel and 27 tonnes of lubricant oil when the decision was taken to beach it in shallow water off Catalan Bay. This action immediately reduced both the environmental risk and the risk to the lives of the 24 crew members on board the freighter. The kind weather delivered the space and the time for the vast majority of the oil on board to be pumped out, and although there was some light sheening, this was dealt with professionally and efficiently by the different Government agencies and the commercial entities involved.

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ESG says damage from OS 35 oil spill to Seven Sisters area 'shocking, unprecedented & way beyond its abilities to clean up'

The Environmental Safety Group says the damage from the OS 35 oil spill to the Seven Sisters area is shocking, unprecedented and way beyond its abilities to clean up.

It says just days after its volunteers removed large amounts of plastics and other non-organic waste on Clean up the World day, the shoreline was plastered with thick, tarry oil.

The Group says this is a thriving ecosystem and marine reserve, and calls for the publication of the true impact of the damage.

It says contractors are now based at Seven Sisters hoping to make a difference, and pledges its volunteers to assist as much as possible.

ESG Volunteers at Seven Sisters

Cleanup by the Department of the Environment


Thus far images of tarry oil on rocks have been published, but based on the statement below it is much worse than that. Sad situation.

“It was very sad to see the impacts on the species that live in this intertidal zone with volunteers coming across many affected by the oil. ESG understands that a survey is underway by the department.” ESG Says It’s “Very Sad” To See Impact Of Oil On Seven Sisters Coastline - Your Gibraltar TV (YGTV)

The Captain of the Port has received an indicative schedule from the salvors for the salvage and wreck removal of the OS 35. This includes an indicative timeline for the removal of the wreck and its contents.
The provision of this plan follows the issuing of a Wreck Removal Notice to the vessel’s owners by the Captain of the Port, under the provisions of Part VIIIA of the Merchant Shipping Act.

The Notice requires that the wreck must be removed by the owners in a proper and timely manner consistent with considerations of safety and environmental protection legislation, and in particular with the protection of the marine environment.
The Notice requires the complete removal of the wreck and its contents by 30th May 2023.

Sacha Dench and Lewis Stagnetto on the Gibraltar oil spill

Sacha Dench and Lewis Stagnetto on the Gibraltar oil spill


Just a bit of a side note - I thought this new video from Gibraltar's Bland is interesting, about helping ships navigate through the Strait of Gibraltar. Maybe they are trying to be pro-active to protect against potential future disasters. Obviously, they offer the service, but the video is new.

Vessels sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar that do not wish to leave international waters or enter port can contract this service with MH Bland Port Agency.

Anchorage and Off Port Limit operations MH Bland Gibraltar

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Gibraltar Yachting filmed around the tanker. Interesting perspective.


The incident in Gibraltar gets a mention in this article -

“There is no consideration of an accident between an LNG tanker and another ship in the busy Jade Fairway – as last happened off the coast of Gibraltar in August. An application for the water law permit for the – also unlimited – removal of large amounts of water from the inner jade is missing completely.

Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has submitted an objection to Uniper’s floating LNG terminal ship (FSRU) in Wilhelmshaven.

Uniper’s application to operate the terminal ship Höegh Esperanza for an unlimited period of time “weighs the heaviest,” according to DUH.

It states, “This contradicts the climate goals of the Federal Climate Protection Act and counteracts the announcement by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck that he wants to operate the FSRU for a maximum of ten years. The effects on the global climate were not even roughly considered in the previous procedure.”

Read more.

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OS 35 Government says sporadic oil emanations continue

The Master of the bulk carrier OS35 has appeared at both the Magistrates’ & Supreme Court, facing charges relating to its collision.

Abdelabari Kaddura is alleged to have endangered ships, individuals, protected species and Gorham’s Cave.

On the 30th August, OS35 was beached on the Eastside following a collision with the Adam LNG tanker.

Several operations have taken place since to mitigate its impact on the area – particularly oil leakage.

A deadline of 30th May next year has been set for its removal.

Meanwhile, the 53 year-old Master of the vessel is facing one charge at the Magistrates’ Court. This is for damaging a breeding site of a wild animal of European Protected Species.

The Syrian national has six charges to be heard at the Supreme Court relating to endangering ships, safety of life at sea, failure to take appropriate action, risk of collision and damage to monuments or buildings.

His case at the Supreme Court has been adjourned to the 15th December at noon, while the Magistrates’ Court case will be heard on the 16th December.

Gibraltar accepts proposal to remove OS35 wreckage. Acceptance of the proposal clears the way for TMC Marine to award the contract to the successful bidder, Koole Contractors.

The Harbour Master has confirmed that, following a thorough review of the technical proposal for the removal of the 'OS 35' and all its contents, the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) has ratified to TMC Marine, the company acting on behalf of the owners and insurers of the 'OS 35', that the technical proposal by the Dutch specialist Koole Contractors is accepted in principle.

As indicated in the schedule of the entire project submitted to the GPA by TMC Marine, the tender process initiated by TMC Marine was concluded on 21 October. Subsequently, TMC Marine conducted a review of the proposals received and on 9 November submitted its preferred proposal to the GPA.

The acceptance of the proposal clears the way for TMC Marine to award the contract to the successful bidder, Koole Contractors, and for the mobilisation of the necessary specialised means to Gibraltar. Work will then commence on the removal of the wreck and all its contents, in accordance with the Wreck Removal Notice issued by the GPA on 15 September.

Harbour Master John Ghio said: "This crucial development is an important step in ensuring that the removal of the wreck is carried out within the time frame set out by the Gibraltar Port Authority in the Wreck Removal Notice. It also confirms that the methodology and effectiveness of the planned work is feasible and also fully compatible with the most stringent environmental protection measures".

Gibraltar removes most of the contents of the OS35 stranded in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Government of Gibraltar has informed today in a note that they have managed to remove most of the contents of the ship stranded east of the Rock since 29 August after suffering a collision, the 'OS35', and that the specialists who will proceed with its dismantling have already departed from various points and are expected to arrive in Gibraltar at the end of January.

Specifically, the anchor handling tug 'Koole 42' and the barge 'H283' left Suriname this morning and are expected to arrive in Gibraltar at the beginning of January, while the tug 'Koole 31' and the barge 'H10030' are ready to leave for Gibraltar in Amsterdam (Holland), where they are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

On the other hand, the removal of the contents of the accommodation sections of the ship are "almost finished" and all that remains, "in the next few days", is to dismantle the section of the wheelhouse when weather conditions permit.

On decks A, B and C "the furniture, non-rigid walls and insulation have been completely removed and only the steel bulkheads have been left".

In addition, divers "have successfully removed a further 3,000 litres of oil residue from inside the hull of the vessel", an intervention that "has mitigated any significant spillage at sea".

When weather conditions allow this to be done safely, divers will continue to remove as many bags of oil as possible from inside the wreck's structure.

Similarly, maintenance and cleaning work continues on the barrier around the 'OS 35'.

The Caption of the Port has approved a plan to move forward the handover of the OS 35 from the caretaking contractor, Resolve, to the Wreck Removal Contractor, Koole.

A statement from the Government follows below:

The handover process will involve the removal of the current boom surrounding the OS 35 and its replacement with a new boom, which is already in Gibraltar. Dive teams are on site today in order to further remove oil residues that may be trapped inside the hull of the vessel in advance of the operation, thereby minimising the potential for pollution to escape whilst the boom is being replaced. The new boom is expected to be deployed by the afternoon of 24th December.

As preparations for the start of wreck removal operations continue, the Koole 42 with Barge H 283, which departed from Suriname on 11th December, are making good progress so far. However, Koole 31 with Barge K10030 has been unable to depart from the Netherlands due to unfavourable weather conditions in Northern Europe. A suitable weather window means that they are now expected to depart on Christmas Eve, Sunday 24th December. Both Koole 42 and Koole 31 are expected to arrive in Gibraltar in the first week of January.

The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, said: ‘I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Resolve for their excellent work and effort throughout the Caretaking Phase, which has been very successful and effective. I’d also like to thank all those working throughout the holidays to continue to monitor the wreck, limit the impact of any pollution and prepare for the beginning of the next stage of removal operations in the New Year.’

Verdemar asks Gibraltar for "speed and efficiency" in operation to refloat the OS35

The Association Verdemar Ecologists in Action has asked the Government of Gibraltar this Saturday for "speed and efficiency" in the operation to finish refloating the ship OS35, sunk since last August with 35,000 tonnes of carbon steel sheaves, in which it will count on the tug Koole 42 and the barge H-283, which are already in Gibraltar.

At around 10.30 a.m., these vessels docked in the Port of Gibraltar to finish refloating the OS35. For Verdemar Ecologistas en Acción, the operation to remove the wreck is progressing "slowly" and "we believe that there may be more oil spills if there are storms in the coming months", they warned in a press release.

For the ecologists, the "problems" generated by maritime traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar and bunkering "put the Eastern Strait Special Area of Conservation at risk". This Site of Community Interest is part of the Natura 2000 Network and "we believe that its protection is not being taken into account in the Brexit negotiations", they added.

We find ourselves in "an administrative limbo" regarding the integral protection of these waters, they remarked. The vessel Koole 42 and the barge H-283, which left Surinam (South America) on 11 December for Gibraltar to remove all the cargo from the wreck of the OS35, sunk since the end of August off the beaches of La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz), have completed the Atlantic crossing "without setbacks".

The other two vessels on their way, the Koole 31 and the barge H10030, are moored in Brest, in Brittany, France, sheltered from the adverse weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay. However, they expect conditions to improve shortly and the vessel to leave Brest early next week. This, they explain, should not mean any general delay in the removal of the wreck, which is scheduled to be removed by the beginning of May.

A specialist tug and barge arrived in Gibraltar on Saturday ahead of the operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35, the cargo ship that was grounded of Catalan Bay last year.

The Koole 42 and Barge H-283 sailed from Suriname on December 11 and safely completed its trans-Atlantic crossing last week.

It will immediately begin its preparations for the next phase of the wreck removal process.

A second tug and barge are currently stuck in northern Europe due to bad weather.

“Unfortunately, the Koole 31 and Barge H10030 are currently moored in Brest, taking shelter from adverse weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay,” the Gibraltar Government said in an update.

“However, weather conditions are expected to improve shortly and the vessel is expected to depart Brest early [this] week.”

“This should have no overall delay to the removal of the wreck, and the projected timeline of the beginning of May for the complete wreck removal remains in place.”

The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, added: “Firstly, I’d like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has worked throughout the festive period to continue to prepare the wreck for removal and to prevent any damage to the environment.”

“I’m pleased to confirm the safe transatlantic crossing of the Koole 42 and works will shortly be underway to remove the OS35’s cargo entirely, which is expected to take a number of weeks.”

“With the exception of the unfortunate short delay to the arrival of the Koole 31, all aspects of the wreck removal operation are moving forward as planned.”

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Work on the operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35 continued over the past week, with the crane barge H283 now safely secured in its immediate vicinity.

Two crane booms have already been removed from the wreck, with two more being tackled imminently to allow easier access to the cargo holds.

The next phase of the plan is expected to start this week and will focus on the removal of cargo from the vessel.

A second barge and tug, the H10030 and KOOLE 31, are still moored in Brest, where they are sheltering from inclement weather conditions.

It is hoped that a suitable window of good weather will open in the coming days to allow for its departure towards Gibraltar.

“The works continue to progress around the clock in a good and timely manner to ensure the clean-up operation is done as diligently as possible,” said John Ghio, the Captain of the Port.

“It is not ideal that some assets are still stuck in France due to bad weather, but hopefully in the coming days there will be an opportunity for the barges to begin their journey to Gibraltar.”

“Once those assets are on site, we will continue to follow the plan that will see the complete removal of the OS35 during May this year.”

Salvors working on the wreck of the OS 35 have started to remove the vessel’s cargo.

Earlier this week they opened the hatch on cargo hold three and on Friday they began to lift out its contents.

The OS 35 was carrying a cargo of 30,000 tonnes of steel rebars when it was grounded last year off Catalan Bay after sustaining damage in a collision.

Separately, the Captain of the Port received confirmation that the tug Koole 31 towing barge K10030 had successfully departed from Brest on Friday morning and are expected to arrive in Gibraltar before the end of the month, weather permitting.

The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, said: “Today’s developments represent important progress towards the removal of the wreck and its contents.”

New technologies, including thermal imaging drone footage, allowed operations to be carried out around the clock following the collision of the OS 35 bulk carrier.

Speaking on GibTalks, the Captain of the Port gave a chronological explanation of the Port Authority's response on the 29th of August when the incident occurred.

The Captain of the Port says new technologies facilitated the OS35 response

The master of the bulk carrier OS35 has called on the court to have his case heard quickly, as his family in Syria have been affected by the recent earthquake. Abdelabari Kaddura is a Syrian national.

He appeared at the Supreme Court facing charges of endangering ships, individuals, protected species and Gorham'sCave.

Mr Kaddura had his passport confiscated as part of his bail conditions. However, the court heard that he needs to send money to his family in Syria and that he needs his passport to do this.

The court granted his solicitors 48 hours to take custody of the document and allow him to do this.

He will return to court on the 9th March. He has been granted bail until then.