Gibraltar spillage fears after bulk carrier and cargo ship collide

September 1, 2022 GENERAL

A bulk carrier has been beached off the coast of Gibraltar, after it collided with an LNG tanker on Tuesday (30 Aug 22).

Authorities in the British overseas territory, located on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, say the port closed for four hours after the collision, but it has since fully reopened.

“The Gibraltar Port Authority remains at the scene and is continuously reviewing all aspects of the situation,” the Gibraltar government said in a statement.

Booms have been deployed around the beached vessel OS 35, which was sailing under the Tuvalu flag, to prevent any potential fuel spill.

OS 35, which was reportedly loaded with steel bars and over 400 tonnes of fuel, clipped the tanker Adam LNG as the former was moving to exit the bay.

Shortly after the collision occurred, the Gibraltar Port Authority directed the OS 35 to the eastern edge of the port. The vessel was then safely beached to minimise any risk of it sinking.

The Marshall Islands-flagged Adam LNG, which had arrived in Gibraltar after unloading in Malta, remains at anchor near the collision site.

The 24-strong crew aboard OS 35 are remaining onboard at the captain’s request, but can be evacuated if required. No injuries have been reported among the crew, and an internal survey by divers confirms there has been no water ingress.

Adam LNG
Adam LNG

A statement issued by the Gibraltarian Government says: “A survey inspection by a specialist team of divers this morning has confirmed that the OS 35’s bulbous bow is currently submerged 1.2 metres into the sandy seabed.

“There is significant damage to the vessel’s starboard side, including a gash amidships, below the waterline, measuring approximately 10 metres by four metres.”

The government adds that Adam LNG appears to have suffered no significant damage, except for a superficial dent to its bulbous bow.

OS 35 is a Tuvalu-flagged cargo vessel
OS 35 is a Tuvalu-flagged cargo vessel (Image: Gibraltar Government)

The Gibraltar Port Authority says it currently has two tugs and three service craft deployed to the scene, assisted by Salvamento Maritimo, ready to react to any incident that may develop.

“The Port of Algeciras is working in close coordination with the Gibraltar Port Authority, and has also been authorised to deploy assets, including a Salvamento Maritimo helicopter to undertake an aerial survey of the OS 35.”

The OS 35 has an overall length of 178m, and was built at Shin Kurushima Toyohashi shipyard in 1989. It was reportedly attacked by Somalian pirates while sailing in the Gulf of Aden in 2017. The crew locked themselves in a safe room, and the pirates fled after Indian and Chinese naval forces responded to a distress call.



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