The Gibraltar government asked the operator and insurers of the bulker OS 35 to remove and dispose of the wreck from territorial waters within six months. It also requested compensation for the costs associated with the grounding.
The Captain of the Port has received an indicative schedule from the salvors for the salvage and wreck removal of the OS 35. This includes an indicative timeline for the removal of the wreck and its contents.
The provision of this plan follows the issuing of a Wreck Removal Notice to the vessel’s owners by the Captain of the Port, under the provisions of Part VIIIA of the Merchant Shipping Act.
The Notice requires that the wreck must be removed by the owners in a proper and timely manner consistent with considerations of safety and environmental protection legislation, and in particular with the protection of the marine environment.
The Notice requires the complete removal of the wreck and its contents by 30th May 2023.
The Notice also provides for the recuperation of Costs by the Captain of the Port from the vessel’s owners or their insurers. The Notice further stipulates that non-compliance is an offence under sections 179E and 179F of the Act.
The salvors’ indicative schedule for the removal of the wreck is in line with the conditions set out by the Captain of the Port in the Notice. It includes a detailed timeline of each phase of the wreck removal, including:
• the Caretaker Phase, which involves security, caretaking and the mitigation of pollution;
• the Invitation to Tender Phase, which will select a contractor with a track record for safely and successfully carrying out similar wreck removal operations
• the final Wreck Removal Phase, which is expected to take approximately 6 months with allowances made for weather disturbances, and is expected to be complete by 30th May 2023.
The Captain of the Port has today briefed stakeholders, including Spanish authorities, members of the local Press and residents of Catalan Bay, on these developments.
The Captain of the Port, John Ghio, said: ‘Whilst the precise methodology for the removal of the OS 35 and its contents has not yet been established, this preliminary schedule is an important development in the operation. It confirms the intentions of the owners and their insurers to comply with the deadline and conditions specified in the Wreck Removal Notice, and allows them to proceed with the important Invitation to Tender process to identify and select a contractor with the expertise necessary to safely and efficiently remove the wreck in the safest way possible and in a manner that protects the marine environment as far as possible.’