Broken Bulk Carrier OS 35 Leaks Fuel Oil Off Gibraltar

September 5, 2022 GENERAL

The broken bulk carrier OS 35 is leaking heavy fuel oil just off the east coast of Gibraltar.

The oil spill was reported Thursday and some has escaped the boomed perimeter surrounding the vessel.

The salvage team has pinpointed the source of the leak to two tank vents in the ship’s bunker tanks. All vents had previously been sealed but the splitting of the ship resulted in the release.

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

The Gibraltar Ports Authority said divers have been able to re-established the seals on the tanks and were working on stopping the leak. The Captain of the Port has confirmed that the leak from the tank vents is fully under control.

Oil spill response assets are downstream working to collect leaked oil and skimmers are inside the boomed area.

Boats control the oil spill from the OS 35 cargo ship after its collision with an LNG tanker in Catalan Bay, off Gibraltar, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

An operation is underway to pump out the fuel oil remaining onboard the ship into barges on the port side of the vessel. Meanwhile, the Gibraltar Port Authority has confirmed that an operation to pump out diesel has started.

The Port of Gibraltar remains closed so all assets can focus on the response.

Efforts are also underway to boom areas in Catalan Bay and on the Eastside Reclamation area and Sandy Bay to protect against impacts there. In the photo below you can see just how close the wreck is to shore:

Oil leaks from cargo ship OS 35 which remains half sunken in Catalan Bay after its collision with an LNG tanker off Gibraltar, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Jon Nazca


The Tuvalu-flagged OS 35 was outbound from Gibraltar Port when it collided with the unladen LNG carrier Adam LNG in the Bay of Gibraltar on Monday. The OS 35 was then anchored off Catalan Bay, on the opposite side of Iberian Peninsula, where it partially sank.

The vessel has since suffered a break in its hull. A survey inspection of the vessel before it broke confirmed a gash amidships measuring approximately 10 meters by 4 meters on the starboard side. Its bulbous bow is submerged in the sandy seabed.

OS 35 is loaded with steel bars and carrying over 400 metric tons of low sulphur fuel oil.

OS 35 pictured August 31, 2022. Photo courtesy Gibraltar Port Authority

The Adam LNG, which is registered in the Marshall Islands, sustained only minimal damage.

The Captain of the Port and the Gibraltar Contingency Council have declared a Major Incident (MAJAX) under the Civil Contingencies Act to free up more resources to respond to the incident.

Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo and the Port of Algeciras are also assisting in the response.

Cargo ship OS 35 remains half sunken in Catalan Bay after its collision with an LNG tanker off Gibraltar, September 1, 2022. David Martinez/Handout via REUTERS



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