Gibraltar says some fuel still leaking from stricken ship
MADRID (AP) — Gibraltar said Friday some heavy fuel continues to seep from a damaged and partly sunken bulk carrier ship off its shore.
The government said that despite Thursday’s sealing efforts to halt a slick, small amounts were still leaking Friday.
In a statement, the government said there were reports of small numbers of oil-covered birds but that it was “taking every possible measure both on land and at sea to minimize the environmental impact of the spill.”
Crews have now begun extracting the some 180 tons of sulfur fuel still on board after extracting most of the ship’s diesel, it said.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Spain’s southern town of La Línea de la Concepción said some oil reached a nearby beach but clarified that it was lubricant from a leak when the ship collided with another vessel Monday and not from Thursday’s fuel slick.
Mayor Juan Franco said the lubricant’s arrival was worrying “but it is not a tragedy.”
The environmental impact or the quantity of oil spilled Thursday was not immediately clear.
The affected beach near La Línea was closed, as were three bathing areas in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar said the ship had been carrying 250 tons of diesel and still had 183 tons of fuel oil and 27 tons of lubricant oil in its tanks.
The fuel oil is potentially more damaging to the environment and more difficult to extract, raising concerns in Spain and Gibraltar for marine life and tourism in the area.
The ship was ordered grounded in the shallows after colliding Monday with another vessel in the bay of the British territory located at the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.
The usually busy port of Gibraltar remains closed, but the neighboring Algeciras port in Spain is fully operational.
The 178-meter (584-foot), Tuvalu-registered OS 35 was carrying a cargo of steel bars. The LNG carrier with which it collided sustained little damage. No one was injured in the collision.
The captain of the damaged ship has been detained for allegedly not obeying Gibraltar port orders initially after the collision.
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