A ship that caused an oil spill on February 12 will be detained in Gibraltar waters, until Gibraltar can recover the costs of a clean-up operation.
According to local media, a big portion of the oil drifted into the harbour basin, but there were patches noted in the bay including in the area of Rosia Bay.
The spill appears to have been caused due to a valve problem on the Liberian-flag bulk carrier AM Ghent, which at the was carrying out a bunkering operation while anchored in British waters in the Bay of Gibraltar.
After the incidet, an anti-pollution operation involving vessels from Gibraltar and Spain tried to contain the spill to prevent it from reaching shore.
However, an oily sheen stretched across much of the north end of the bay over the weekend was noted, while inside Gibraltar harbour thick tendrils of black gunk floated on the water.
To contain the spill, booms were stretched across the entrance of marinas inside the harbour. In addition, a specialist vessel sucked up the fuel floating on the surface, despite the fact that the size of the spill is significant.
According to Spanish media, Spain was not informed about the incident until four hours after the spill, and that Royal Navy vessels from the Gibraltar Squadron had initially ordered them to leave British waters.
According to initial estimates, about 1,000 litres of fuel oil were spilled into the sea, but the actual amount has yet to be confirmed by the authorities.
The GPA’s Bunkering Superintendent is now investigating the incident, and the ship’s operator could face legal action.