Hulk of OS 35 Departs Gibraltar for Recycling
Eleven months after striking a vessel at anchor, the hulk of the bulker OS 35 departed the Port of Gibraltar this morning, July 28, bound for Amsterdam. It brings to a close a difficult salvage operation that had drawn broad attention as the wreck lay close to the shore and a popular beach in Gibraltar.
“I’m delighted to confirm that the long and challenging operation to remove the wreck of the OS 35 from Gibraltar has been brought to a safe conclusion,” said John Ghio, the Captain of the Port of Gibraltar in a statement thanking everyone for their hard work. He confirmed that the vessel Fjord, carrying the wreck of the OS 35, departed British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in the early hours of this morning
The AIS signal for the heavy lift vessels shows it arriving in The Netherlands on August 7. The two sections of the vessel will be handed over for a recycling operation.
Koole Contracts which undertook the project highlighted that it went as planned and engineering. The 584-foot bulker first had to be offloaded of its cargo of steel rods. During the operation weather caused the vessel to break into two sections despite the decision early in the salvage effort to sink the stern to rest on the seabed.
In the last phase of the salvage operation, they were able to restore buoyancy to the stern and refloat it. It was anchored nearby with a crew working to maintain its buoyancy while the team focused on the more challenging part of lifting the bow section of the bulker. The lift began in late June and was completed in early July.
Koole has reactivated its semi-submersible barge the Fjord which had been idle and required more than two months of outfitting and classification certification before joining the project. The “sternless” design of the lift vessel meant she could accommodate an overhang on the stern so that both sections of the OS 35 could be positioned aboard using the 6,000 square meters of deck area on the Fjord. She has a deadweight capacity of 24,500 tons.
“I’d like to commend and congratulate the Captain of the Port on this final milestone in what has been a long and often challenging, but overall safe and successful salvage of the OS 35 wreck,” said Vijay Daryanani, Gibraltar’s Minister for the Port.
Officials said after the salvage operation was completed, they would continue to review the entire incident looking for lessons to be learned. The Port Captain has questioned some of the decisions and the communication between the OS 35 and the authorities after it struck an anchored gas carrier as the bulker was departing the port on August 30, 2022. The vessel as it was outbound was not required to have a pilot aboard. An analysis showed it hit the anchor chain of the Adam LNG tanker pulling her into the forward portion of the bulker.
Taking on water the bulker was ultimately directed to the position where she settled at the bow to the sea bed. The captain of the OS 35 recently pleaded guilty to charges related to the handling of the vessel and was given a suspended sentence in Gibraltar.