UPDATE: Tanker That Caused Oil Spillage In Gibraltar Port Released On Payment Of £1.5m Cash Bond

Image of Gibraltar.

Image of Gibraltar. Credit: Adam Cli/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

UPDATE: Thursday, August 10 at 10:05 pm

The ‘Gas Venus’ tanker that was responsible for an oil spillage in the Port of Gibraltar one week ago has been released after its operator agreed to deposit a £1.5m (approx €1.7m) bond.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 litres of heavy fuel oil are estimated by officials to have entered the water after a refuelling operation somehow went wrong, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle.

John Ghio, the Captain of the Port, lifted the detention order on receipt of the cash bond with the vessel reportedly immediately upping anchor and departing the British Overseas Territory this evening, Thursday, August 10.

However, the ship sailed without its 56-year-old captain who remains on The Rock under police bail. Under port rules he was interviewed by the Royal Gibraltar Police following the incident and subsequently arrested on suspicion of a pollution offence.

In an official statement, the Gibraltar Government said: ‘The Captain of the Port has confirmed that the vessel Gas Venus has been released from detention this afternoon and is therefore expected to depart Gibraltar shortly’.

It continued: ‘The detention order has been lifted under the authority of the Captain of the Port upon the receipt by the Gibraltar Port Authority of a cash bond to the sum of £1.5 million. This ensures that the costs of all oil spill response and cleanup operations are covered’.

‘The vessel’s departure from Gibraltar will have no effect on the ongoing investigation as all evidence from the Gas Venus has already been collected. Cleanup operations remain focused on the area of Rosia Bay and continue to progress well’, it added.


Wednesday, August 2 at 0:02 am

All operations by the Gibraltar Maritime Captaincy were suspended in its port this Tuesday, August 1, after a fuel spill in the Bay of Algeciras.

This action was initiated after an accident that occurred during an oil transfer between two ships off the Rock.

As reported by Gibraltarian government sources, the Gibraltar Port Authority immediately launched its contingency plan for oil spills. Together with the Department of the Environment, response operations are currently underway.

In a tweet, it informed: ‘PRESS RELEASE – Port responds to oil spill incident in the Bay. The Captain of the Port has suspended operations at Gibraltar Port this morning following an oil spill incident in the bay. The GP has initiated contingency plans in conjunction with the DoE’.

The incident occurred at around 8:22 am

In an official statement, the Port Authority said: ‘The Captain of the Port has suspended operations at the Gibraltar Port this morning following an oil spill incident in the Bay’.

‘The Gibraltar Port Authority has initiated its oil spill contingency plan in conjunction with the Department of Environment and response operations are currently underway. Spanish authorities have been notified as part of the automatic procedure’.

‘The incident occurred at approximately 8:22 am in the southern part of the Western Anchorage when a vessel taking bunkers experienced an overflow of its tanks. The quantities of oil are currently unquantified’.

‘The Department of Environment are closely monitoring developments and lifeguards are on alert for oil on the Western shoreline. Red flags are flying at Camp Bay and Little Bay as it is expected that some oil will reach the shore in these areas. Bathers are urged to be cautious even if Yellow flags are flying’.

‘Caution is also advised for those at sea on pleasure boats and when fishing from a boat or from shore. Further information will be provided as it becomes available’.

The spillage was blamed on a lack of security measures

Verdemar Ecologistas en Acción, the conservationist group, blamed the oil spill on the lack of security measures in bunkering manoeuvres, the term used to describe the fuel transfer between ships.

In a statement, the organisation said: “Less than a year has passed since the sinking of the OS 35 and we already have another spill in Gibraltar’.

They warned that: ‘Hydrocarbons can reach the beaches of the Bay of Algeciras’, highlighting the fact that: ‘there is no contingency plan that can contain these hydrocarbons’,

Spills like this occur: ‘Because the ships ‘bunker’ with few crews and without security measures. If the gas station ship had not cut off the supply, the situation would have been a real disaster’, insisted Verdemar.

It detailed: ‘The ship that supplied fuel was the Hercules 500 and it set off the alarms that the gas tanker Gas Venus was overflowing with fuel’.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com