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PRESS RELEASE – OS 35 Update: Commencement of clearance operations

July 04, 2023

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 yesterday afternoon. The two sections of the hull are safely on top of the semi-submersible vessel FJORD.

Surveys of the seabed will begin today to ensure that the wreck site of the OS 35 is completely cleared, and once these are concluded the operation will draw to a close.

As was anticipated, the raising of the two sections completely out of the water has released residues, including heavy oil residues into the protective boom that was deployed around the vessel. Work is ongoing to clear these residues within the boomed area and to tackle the consequent sheening which is coming off the boomed section. This is expected to continue throughout the day, and possibly into tomorrow. The public are asked to keep away from the area to facilitate these clearance works, and to stay away from and respect the additional preventive booms which have been placed as a protective measure at beaches on the Eastside.

The FJORD is expected to remain in Gibraltar waters 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 works are completed in securing the hull sections as well as the clearing of the residues from within the boom, the FJORD will move away from its current location to a suitable anchorage berth.

The fact that the hull sections are now completely out of the water effectively means there is no further danger of additional releases of residues from the wreck, once what has already been released is cleared.

The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, said: ‘The success of this complex operation is a testament to the hard work and detailed planning that has been integral to the wreck removal operation throughout. I’d like to thank the public for their understanding and ask once again for their cooperation as we work to protect Gibraltar’s coastline for the continued enjoyment of the bathing season.’

The Minister for the Port, Vijay Daryanani, said: ‘I’m delighted that we have finally reached this important milestone. 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.’