OS 25 wreck pictured September 19, 2022, following the sinking of the vessel's stern. Photo courtesy MateoGib

‘OS 35’ Wreck Removal Set to Kick Off in Gibraltar

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 12268
January 6, 2023

The operation to remove the wreckage of the OS 35 bulk carrier from Gibraltar waters is set to kick off with the arrival of equipment from South America.

Gibraltar’s Captain of the Port confirmed that the anchor handling tug Koole 42 and a barge are scheduled to arrive in Gibraltar this weekend following a transatlantic voyage from Suriname. Upon their arrival, crews will immediately begin preparations for the next phase of the wreck removal process.

The Tuvalu-flagged OS 35 was outbound 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 began breaking up, resulting in the release of fuel oil.

A view of the half-sunk cargo ship OS 35 in Catalan Bay after its collision on Wednesday with an LNG tanker near Gibraltar, September 1, 2022. Gibraltar Government/Handout via REUTERS

Resolve Marine was the appointed salvor in the initial phase of the operation. In September, it took the step of sinking the OS 35’s stern in order to prevent it from breaking loose during heavy weather.

The Captain of the Port has given the owners and insurers of the vessel until the end of May to complete the wreck removal.

Unfortunately, a second anchor handling tug and barge, the Koole 31 and Barge H10030, are stuck in Brest, France, while taking shelter from adverse weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay. Once the weather clears sometime early next week, the vessels are expected to make the transit to Gibraltar to join in the wreck removal effort.

The Gibraltar Port Authority in November approved a proposal from TMC Marine for the complete removal of the wreck within on the Captain of the Port’s timeframe. The company has selected subcontractor Koole Contractors to carry out the work.

“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,” said Captain of the Port, John Ghio. “I’m pleased to confirm the safe transatlantic crossing of the Koole 42 and works will shortly be underway to remove the OS 35’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.”

The LNG carrier involved in the initial collision, the Marshall Islands-flagged Adam LNG, sustained only minimal damage. No injuries were reported on either vessel.

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