The controlled sinking tasks are expected to last about five hours
This operation will stabilize the vessel so that it cannot move and turn with waves, tides and wind.
The rescue team is now removing loose and floating objects from the vessel to secure the hatches
The tasks of controlled sinking of bulk carrier OS35 off gibraltar have already started. A decision made before weather forecasts for the weekend. According to the Government of Gibraltar, it is dand an extremely delicate precautionary measure but that could prevent greater evils. An operation that is expected to last about five hours.
the rescue team work now to remove all floating objects and loose from the ship and secure the hatches. After this, the stern section will be lowered to the seabed, flooding the cargo hold 5 and the engine room in a controlled manner. Once the operation is finished, remove all barriers surrounding the vessel and those deployed on the beaches, to prevent them from being damaged by the storm.
The experts pointed out the difficulties that a worsening of the weather conditions on the wreckage, despite the fact that the gas oil it was transporting has already been extracted. In either case, the storm could cause further damage from non-removable fuel residue and the remains of furniture and loose objects that cannot be removed in time of the ship, according to government sources.
Leave the ship in its current position during the upcoming strong storm, could cause the aft section to shift uncontrollably to a position that make subsequent operations technically difficult of rescue and recovery and, therefore, reduce its effectiveness. So, in anticipation of the adverse weather conditions expected in Gibraltar this weekend, the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) has agreed to apply the Resolve Plan for Adverse Weather Conditions in relation to OS35, whose wreckage remains some 700 meters from Catalan Bay.
A ship that is already technically sunk
The independent rescue expert consulted by the Port Authority has considered that “OS35 is already, by definition, sunk.” “The ship can be considered to be divided into two parts. A bow section, with a length of 73 meters, and a stern section of 105 meters in length. the two sections they are held together by broken, bent, and warped steel. However, the structural integrity of the hull has been totally broken. Approximately, the three-quarters of the ship’s bow is damaged and flooded. Its position in shallow waters means that the forward two-thirds of the ship are quite submerged in the seabed”, they detail from the Government of Gibraltar.
The aft section, which is more buoyant due to the dry cargo hold 5 and the engine room, remains several meters above the seabed: “This section is light enough that the forces of nature can move and turn in times of inclement weather, while the front section cannot be moved” by the same disturbances.
The Resolve Plan for Adverse Weather Conditions consists of lower the aft section of the OS35 in a controlled manner so that it also rests firmly on the seabed before the bad weather arrives: “This will stabilize that section so you can’t move and rotate with the waves, the tide and the wind”, state the authorities.