Salvage workers are stepping up work remove oil residue from the hull of a bulk carrier which grounded off Gibraltar one month ago.

There have been continued problems with oil sheening around the wreck of the 35,362-dwt OS 35 (built 1999), and shore pollution, despite the removal of fuel oil and other contaminants from the vessel.

A Recovery Coordination Centre reported that dive surveys have now successfully located several pockets of oil trapped in the hull which have been seeping to the surface.

Salvage workers are now recovering the oil from the vessel and making repairs to an oil pollution prevention boom to prevent further leaks.

The work has managed to reduce pollution from the vessel. “In the past few days, only minimal amounts of sheening have escaped the boom,” the Government of Gibraltar said in a statement.

It said from now on it expects further reductions to the small amounts of oil leaking from the vessel.

Pain-staking manual oil pollution cleanup operations are continuing along a 100-metre stretch of the nearby Seven Sisters coastline which has been most affected by pollution from the wreck.

The Gibraltar Department of the Environment is conducting an impact study to assess the ecological damage caused by the spill.

The Gibraltar Government said it “strongly advises” no fishing should take place in the area and “the public should refrain from consuming locally caught seafood at this time”.

Emergency over

The Tuvalu-registered OS 35 was deliberately grounded to prevent it from sinking after it hit the 162,000-cbm LNG carrier Adam LNG (built 2014), which was at anchor, as it left Gibraltar on 29 August.

Adam LNG only suffered minor damage.

The bulk carrier is insured by British Marine which is backed by the QBE insurance group.

The Gibraltar Government officially declared the emergency as over after fuel and lube oil was successfully removed from the wreck on 7 September.

There has been no indication so far as to how the Gibraltar Government and the vessel’s insurers will attempt to remove the wreck, which has been aground for a month, and has broken its back.