Divers seal tank vents leaking fuel from a bulk carrier off Gibraltar

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Divers sealed two tank vents that leaked fuel from a damaged bulk carrier that ran aground after a collision off the British enclave of Gibraltar in the far south of Spain, authorities said on Thursday. local.

The hull of the bulk carrier OS 35 broke after the collision with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier and started leaking fuel on Wednesday, but the ship has not broken into two parts.

“The Harbor Master confirmed that the leakage of low sulfur fuel from the tank vents is fully controlled,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.

According to local authorities, the LNG carrier was not significantly affected by the collision.

The Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) is working with a Spanish Salvamento Marítimo crew to collect a small amount of fuel that leaked from the perimeter of a barrier installed shortly after Tuesday’s collision, as well as skimmers. to collect the fuel that has remained inside the barrier.

At the same time, authorities are stepping up efforts to start pumping the ship’s heavy fuel oil, diesel and lubricating oil.

Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, told Spanish channel TVE on Thursday that the operation to extract some 500 tonnes of fuel from the ship’s tanks should take about 50 hours using the ship’s own pumps.

The port of Gibraltar was partially closed to concentrate its resources on dealing with the emergency, but some operations, such as the arrival of a cruise ship on Thursday, have been carried out.

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