Although the wreck of bulk carrier OS 35 (IMO 9172399) off the Gibraltarian peninsula suffered some damage during recent winter storms in the far western Mediterranean, the damage was not considered extensive.
A report to the Captain of the Port in Gibraltar referred to limited damage to the accommodation block and hull.
The crack in the hull of the bulk carrier has extended to the port side, with the ship now remaining a single entity only because of the bilge keel. The good news was that the wreck had not moved from its original position, following its controlled sinking last September.
The damage to the hull had allowed divers to inspect fuel tank 1, which had suffered some damage. The other set of fuel tanks remained undamaged. The dive survey confirmed that the tanks, which had been emptied in earlier stages of the operation, were still intact and are not at risk of failing.
With cargo removal remaining priority one, the damage caused by the storms had not affected this operation. Thus far 11,000 metric tons of steel bars, equal to about a third of the ship’s total cargo, had been removed. No secondary contamination or debris had been detected.
Captain of the Port, John Ghio, said that “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. 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 the current priority.”
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 29th 2022. The OS 35 was then anchored off Catalan Bay, on the opposite side of the Gibraltar peninsula. It partially sank and later began breaking up, resulting in the release of some fuel oil. Last September the Port Authorities gave the ship’s owners and insurers until the end of May 2023 to complete the wreck removal.
While an operation was carried out to remove all recoverable oil from the ship’s tanks about a week after the incident, some unrecoverable oil remnants remained on board. A percentage of these oil residues have occasionally escaped from the wreck, necessitating a response both at sea and along the shoreline.
Resolve Marine was appointed salvor so far in the operation.
1999-built, Tuvalu-flagged, 20,947 gt OS 35 is owned by Oldstone Cargo Ltd care of manager Oldstone Management Ltd of Piraeus, Greece. At the time of the incident it was entered with British Marine on behalf of Oldstone Cargo Ltd.