Oil leak from ship off Gibraltar affects fishing, beaches

MADRID (AP) — Teams are working to mitigate the impact of a new oil leak from a partly sunken cargo ship in Gibraltar that has affected fishing and bathing in both the British territory and in a town in nearby Spain, officials said Wednesday.

The Port of Gibraltor

The Gibraltar Port authority said the bad weather over the weekend triggered the leak. The authority said improved weather Tuesday allowed it to place a boom around the ship to try contain the spill.

Two beaches in Gibraltar and one in the Spanish town of La Linea de La Concepcion were closed so workers could clean them of oil waste.

The ship collided with another vessel on Aug. 29. Most of the fuel was pumped out of the ship but some that leaked out in the first week reached beaches, and affected fishing and port activities.

The town hall in La Linea said fishing in several surrounding areas has been suspended since the collision. It said the latest leak was not as big as the first one.

The ship was basically broken in two and is resting on the seabed in shallow waters, authorities in Gibraltar said. Gibraltar Port said the latest spill involved oil onboard that could not be removed with pumps.

Salvage teams have yet to decide on the best way to remove the shipwreck from the area.

Gibraltar said the 178-meter (584-foot), Tuvalu-registered OS 35 was carrying 250 tons of diesel. After the initial spill, it still had 183 tons of fuel oil and 27 tons of lubricant oil in its tanks.

The ship was carrying a cargo of steel bars when it collided with a liquefied natural gas carrier. The second ship sustained little damage. No one was injured in the collision.

Gibraltar, a British territory located on southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, is a busy shipping and fuel supply port.