OS 35 removal back on as storm passes
The removal of the OS 35, the bulk carriers that collided with LNG tanker Adam while manoeuvring to exit the Catalan Bay in Gibraltar, in August last year, is still in process. The Gibraltar Port Authority said that it has recently received the results of the survey showing the damage the wreckage sustained in recent storms.
“Damage to both the accommodation block and hull had been anticipated and prepared for with the stripping of the interior and unloading of the vessel prior to the onset of the bad weather. Whilst the wreck has sustained structural damage, most visibly to the starboard side of the accommodation block and hull, this is not considered to be extensive given the overall situation. The debris from this is contained within the site of the wreck,” the port authority said.
The report also says that the original crack in the hull has extended to the Port side, and the two parts of the ship are now only tenuously held together by very bottom part of its structure, known as the bilge keel. The bow is now sitting a further four metres into the sandy sea bed, whilst the stern is now sitting a further two metres into the sea bed. This is a result of shifting sands with heavy swells.
“However, the OS 35 has not moved from its original site, demonstrating the effectiveness of the strategy to stabilise the vessel with a controlled sinking. This provided the wreck with the maximum possible stability to weather the expected winter storms.” the authority said.
Furthermore, the Tank 1 has suffered significant damage with divers conducting visual inspections. There is still some light sheening, which is being contained within the boom.
OS 35 removal plans
The removal of the vessel’s cargo continues to be the first priority at this stage of the operation, with over 11,000 tonnes (representing around 1/3 of the total cargo) already removed. Between 600 and 900 tonnes of cargo are being removed daily. The damage caused by the storms has had no detrimental impact on the cargo removal operations or their timelines, the port authority said.
To remind, the vessel was on its way to Vlissengen in the Netherlands, loaded with steel rebars.
The work to remove the OS 35 and its cargo continues to progress well, and the downtime dictated by the winter storms was built in to the planned project timeline. The current condition of the wreck and the damage to its hull and structure means that some of the plans for its final removal may need to be tweaked, although it is unclear as to how this may affect the projected timelines, if at all, the authority’s statement reads.