The captain of the OS 35 bulk carrier ship leaking fuel off Gibraltar since Thursday has been arrested, police sources confirmed Friday.
The Tuvalu-flagged vessel carrying steel bars left the Bay of Algeciras for Vlissingen in the Netherlands Monday and collided with the Adam LNG, which bore the flag of the Marshall Islands. The collision happened when the OS 35 was moving to exit the Bay of Gibraltar. No one was injured in the accident. All 24 members of the OS 35 were evacuated promptly.
“He didn’t stop, he didn’t follow the instructions and said he had no damage,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo explained in an interview. He stressed the captain had “many questions” to answer after ignoring Gibraltarian authorities in the aftermath of the spill.
After the initial collision, the OS 35 tried to sail on but the captain admitted he “could not continue” because the boat had “notable” water leaks once in the Bay of Gibraltar.
The captain was reported Friday to be cooperating with the detectives of the Division of Crimes and Protection Services of the Royal Police of Gibraltar.”
Water entered the ship, which broke down late Thursday and began leaking 500 tons of its own fuel, which was not the vessel's cargo but rather meant for its engines.
A relief deployment began pumping the fuel that was controlled by a floating barrier known as a boom placed around the OS 35 following the discovery of the leak. Gibraltar authorities confirmed 4,000 liters of oil and water had been recovered from the boom already.
Picardo confirmed that “from the beginning, there has been coordination with Spain” to clean up waters off both Gibraltar and Spain. Gibraltar officials also announced that the leak was fully under control and that the priority was to corral and collect the free-floating oil that has escaped the boom, as well as to remove the oil that has remained contained inside the boom.
The OS 35 has been beached in the Bay of Gibraltar since the two vessels collided late Monday.
The Gibraltar Port Authority has confirmed a leak of heavy fuel oil a small amount of which has escaped the perimeter of the boom,” the government said in a statement.