NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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Hulk of OS 35 is damaged by winter storms off Gibraltar.
By Sea and Coast | 09/03/2023
The bulk carrier OS 35, which sank a year ago barely offshore after colliding with another boat at the entry to Gibraltar harbour, was damaged by recent winter storms, according to the master of the Port of Gibraltar. Even while the damage to the ship was not significant, it may nonetheless necessitate alterations to the current salvage effort because the strong waves damaged the ship and prompted a further leak of oil from its forward oil tanks.
On August 30, when it was leaving Gibraltar, the OS 35 struck an anchored LNG ship and sank somewhere off Catalan Bay. The stern apparently remained afloat while the bow sank to the ocean below, but the ship later cracked and started spilling oil. Last fall, it was decided to demolish the remaining half of the vessel as inclement weather approached. The salvage operations got under way early this year.
However, storms that passed across the region in late February caused additional damage to the hulk, including the separation of a tiny portion of the lodging structure. According to the port captain, the piece fell away as a result of the heavy waves battering the ship's starboard side, which also stretched other fissures and furthered the initial hull break. Little amounts of buckling also appeared in the numbers one and two holds, as well as a significant area of bending and cracking in the vicinity of the number four hold.
According to John Ghio, the master of the port, "the damage to the vessel's hull and accommodation section, while not ideal, were expected and accounted for with the extraction of as much oil as feasible and the total stripping of the accommodation. These steps allowed the ship the utmost stability to endure the snowstorms as much as possible, along with the choice to sink the wreckage gradually and secure it in place.
After the thunderstorms, divers performed a second inspection of the ship and found that the stern part had descended an extra six to seven feet and the bow section had sunk an additional 13 feet. The sandy bottom was moved around the boat by the strong swell. They were able to determine the cause of more light sheening all around crash and that all four of the fuel lines that composed Tank 1 in the front area are destroyed. Tank 2's other set of tanks, which are located in the stern, are unharmed. Last October, all of the tanks were pumped, leaving only residuals. But the storms also brought tar balls that washed up on Gibraltar's beach and in the nearby sea.
The two parts of the ship are currently just flimsily held together, according to the divers. The bilge keel is the location of the last connection. But, the salvage strategy calls for dividing the two pieces and hoisting them separately.
The cargo evacuation from the OS 35's holds, according to the port captain, continues to be a top priority. Daily removal of the rebar freight amounts to 600 to 900 tonnes. Almost 11,000 tonnes of cargoes have been hauled from the vessel since the removal process started in mid-January.
They believe they are still on track to have the wreck dismantled before the summer because the salvage plan included time lost because of winter storm delays. On account of the latest destruction to the hull and structure, they anticipate that they may need to "tweak the plan" for the final removal.