A 178 meter long bulk carrier collided with a liquid gas tanker off Gibraltar, causing a leak. The "OS 35" flying the flag of Tuvalu was therefore grounded in shallow water off the east coast of the British Overseas Territory at the southern tip of Spain.
Authorities feared an oil spill if the ship went under. It has 183 tons of heavy fuel oil, 250 tons of diesel and 27 tons of lubricating oil in its tanks, the Gibraltar government said on Tuesday. As a precaution, floating oil booms were laid out between the distressed vessel and the beach. It is still unclear why the two ships collided the day before.
The "OS 35" lay on its bow on Tuesday in calm seas - about 200 meters from the beach of Catalan Bay. Divers found a ten by four meter hole in the hull below the waterline, radio station GBS reported. The bow sank about one and a half meters deep into the sand on the seabed.
The 24-man crew were on board and there was no danger to life as they could be picked up by ships in the vicinity at any time, local media reported, citing the port captain. A team of ship salvage experts from the Netherlands was heading to Gibraltar, news site YGTV reported.
Why the steel-laden "OS 35", which was on its way to the Dutch port of Vlissingen, rammed the liquid gas tanker "Adam LNG" at anchor on Monday afternoon was not disclosed. The 289 meter long gas tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands was largely undamaged in the collision. The ship only got a decent dent in the hull, GBS reported.