Hulk of OS 35 Bulker Lifted from the Waters off Gibraltar
The salvage operation to remove the wreck of the bulker OS 35 off Gibraltar was largely completed on July 3. The two sections of the hulk have now been removed from the ocean 10 months after the vessel hit an anchored gas carrier and sank to the seafloor near one of Gibraltar’s beaches.
“I’m delighted that we have finally reached this important milestone,” said the Minister for the Port, Vijay Daryanani, announcing the hulk had raised. “I’d like to thank all those who continue to work towards the ultimate goal of the final departure of the OS 35 from Gibraltar’s waters with safety and environmental protection as the top priority.”
The two sections of the bulker, which had measured 584 feet, were transferred onto the semi-submersible, heavy-lift vessel Fjord. Port officials announced today that the two sections of the hull were now safely aboard the lift ship and raised above the water.
The Fjord is expected to remain in Gibraltar for a couple of weeks, as the hull sections are further secured and sea-fastened in preparation for the voyage to the final decommissioning site in the Netherlands. Once preliminary work is completed in securing the hull sections, as well as the clearing of the residues from within the oil containment boom, the Fjord will move from its current location to a suitable anchorage berth.
The Captain of the Port has confirmed that the operation to raise both sections of the OS 35 wreck out of the water was successfully completed yest afternoon. The 2 sections of the hull are safely on top of the semi-submersible vessel FJORD.— HM Govt of Gibraltar (@GibraltarGov) July 4, 2023
Currently, the salvage team is commencing a survey of the seabed. They are looking for any additional pieces of the vessel or debris that will be removed before they complete the operation.
As was anticipated, the raising of the two sections of the hull out of the water released residues, including heavy oil residues. As a precaution, they had strung a protective boom, which captured most of the oil released. Work is ongoing to clear the residues within the boomed area and to tackle the consequent sheening which is coming off the boomed section.
The lifting of the hulk brings to a close the incident that began on August 30, 2022, when the OS 35, registered in Tuvalu, a 35,000 dwt bulker hit the anchored 162,000 cbm Adam LNG tanker. Reports indicated that the bulker which was laden with a cargo of steel rods hit the anchor chain of the gas carrier pulling her into the forward portion of the bulker. Taking on water, the bulker was ultimately directed to the position where her bow settled to the sea floor. The salvage team later decided to sink the stern to the seabed but winter storms caused the vessel to break into two pieces.
The master of the OS 35 pleaded guilty in a Gibraltar court to counts related to the accident. He was given a suspended sentence.