THE OS 35 bulk carrier will finally leave Gibraltar’s Catalan Bay Friday afternoon aboard a huge barge just over ten months after it beached there following a bay accident.
The mammoth Fjord semi-submersible barge that scooped it up Tuesday will carry it off to the Eastern Anchorage south of Eastern Beach after weeks of work lifting the two parts of the OS 35 from the seabed.
A controlled oil leak occurred on Tuesday afternoon when the heavy lift platform picked up the stern and bow sections of the bulker that had broken last winter during heavy storms.
Workers then sucked out all the oil from around the Fjord barge while lifting the barge out of the water.
Just before the ship sails to the Eastern Anchorage, workers will finally remove the preventive boom that contained the spill and stopped another ecological disaster.
Captain of Gibraltar Port John Ghio has declared the removal by Dutch contractors Koole Ltd a ‘success’ after the ‘detailed planning’ that went into the operation.
Workers aboard the Fjord will now make sure the ship sitting atop the barge is securely fastened for the next two weeks before it sails to the Netherlands.
Once there, the contractors will likely break it up further, recycle the metal or sink it to create an artificial reef.
“This is a significant accomplishment for the project as well as for our company,” Koole Ltd said in statement on its website.
“We want to express our pride in our hardworking crew and their dedication throughout this project.”
The beaching of the OS 35 700 metres from Catalan Bay attracted global media attention, especially from international shipping media.
“The conclusion of the salvage operation demonstrates the industry’s commitment to safety, environmental protection, and efficient maritime operations,” Marine Insight said.
“The marine industry recognizes the importance of prompt and effective responses to such incidents to maintain the integrity of shipping operations and protect marine ecosystems.”
But Gibraltar marine charity The Nautilus Group told The Olive Press that sealife would be hurting for a whole decade after oil leaks from the accident.
The incident sparked off when the OS 35 left the Bay of Gibraltar on August 29 and collided with the anchor chain of another ship, the Adam LNG, opening up a ten metre gash in the hull.
As it took on water, the port directed it to a location off Catalan Bay where it beached and gradually broke apart over the winter.
A Gibraltar court declared the Syrian captain of the OS 35 bulker guilty of negligence for his part in the incident but allowed him to go free with a suspended sentence.