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‘OS 35’ Shipwreck Survives Winter Storms

Photo of the OS 35 shipwreck taken March 7, 2023. Photo courtesy Gibraltar Port

‘OS 35’ Shipwreck Survives Winter Storms

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 6460
March 9, 2023

The Captain of the Port in Gibraltar has received a report about the damage to the OS 35 shipwreck caused by recent storms.

The damage to the accommodation block and hull was expected, but is not considered extensive.

The crack in the hull of the bulk carrier has extended to the port side and the ship is now held together by the bilge keel. However, the wreck has not moved from its original position following its controlled sinking last September as part of a plan to stabilize it for heavy weather.

The damage to the hull has allowed divers to inspect fuel tank 1, which has suffered damage. The other set of fuel tanks remain undamaged. The dive survey has confirmed with certainty that the tanks, which had been emptied in earlier stages of the operation, are still intact and are not at risk of failing.

Photo courtesy Gibraltar Port

The removal of the vessel’s cargo is the first priority, and the damage caused by the storms has not impacted the cargo removal operations. So far, crews have removed 11,000 metric tons of steel bars, representing about a third of the ship’s total cargo.

Small amounts of residual oil have been found on some beaches, but no secondary contamination or debris was detected.

The Captain of the Port has briefed Spanish authorities and other stakeholders on the latest information.

“The damage to the vessel’s hull and accommodation block, whilst not ideal, were anticipated and prepared for with the removal of as much oil as possible and the complete stripping of the accommodation,” said The Captain of the Port, John Ghio. “These measures, together with the decision to sink the wreck in a controlled manner and thereby secure it in place, gave the vessel 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.”

The Tuvalu-flagged bulk carrier was departing from Gibraltar Port with a load of steel bars when it collided with the unladen LNG carrier Adam LNG in the Bay of Gibraltar on August 29, 2022. The OS 35 was then anchored off Catalan Bay, on the opposite side of the Gibraltar peninsula, where it partially sank and later broke up, resulting in the release of fuel oil.

Authorities have given the ship’s owners and insurers until the end of May to complete the wreck removal.

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