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Photos: Gibraltar Refloats Stern Section of Wrecked OS 35 Bulker

OS 35 removal
Stern section of the OS 35 has been refloated in preparation for its removal (Photos courtesy Government of Gibraltar)

Published Jun 16, 2023 12:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Gibraltar Port Authority is reporting that a milestone was reached yesterday, June 15, in the salvage efforts for the bulker OS 35 that sunk more than nine months ago after hitting a gas carrier in the anchorage at the entrance to Gibraltar’s harbor. The salvage operation is entering its final phase to remove the two sections of the bulker that broke apart earlier this year during storms.

Lifting operations began on June 10 and yesterday the captain of the port said they were able to raise the stern section of the vessel out of the water. The process had called for reversing a controlling sinking they conducted in October 2022 to stabilize the wreck and prevent further damage to the environment. After ensuring the stern was watertight, they began to restore buoyancy.

 

 

“Progress continues to be made despite the challenging conditions of the wreck and work will continue to further stabilize the stern section,” reports John Ghio, the Captain of the Port. Once the stern is stabilized, they plan to place it on a semi-submersible platform ship, which can be seen standing by in the photos released today.

The second phase of the operation calls for the lifting of the bow section using cranes. The forward portion of the vessel was damaged when it hit the gas carrier and sustained additional damage due to storms. Once it is lifted onto the platform ship both pieces will be sent for recycling.

 

 

 “Works continue to progress at a safe and steady pace,” they said in the update. Previously, the port captain said weather and other conditions at the wreck site would dictate the timeline for this phase of the salvage operation. The government had set a deadline of the end of May for the removal, but later extended it after the weather had slowed the preparations for the salvage.

Separately, the master of the OS 35 made his second court appearance on Thursday in a Gibraltar court. The Magistrates’ Court decided yesterday not to impose additional penalties for the pollution charges and the oil damage to an antiquities site. Captain Abdelabari Kaddura, a Syrian national age 53, had previously pleaded guilty to charges related to the accident and was given a four-month suspended sentence. According to the reports, he has been released and is now free to travel home after having been detained in Gibraltar since the incident in August 2022.