Gibraltar Port Authority has announced the prosecution of the AM Ghent for the recent oil spill.
It must be noted that £20,000 fine set by the Magistrate is in addition to the payment of £1.5 million pound security bond by the vessel owners’ through their P&I Club, as surety to cover all the oil spill clean up expenses that may be incurred by the Gibraltar Government and which was a prerequisite for the vessel to be allowed to depart Gibraltar.
Commenting on the conclusion of the court case, Minister for the Port, Hon Vijay Daryanani said:
It is gratifying to see the great partnership and cooperation between Gibraltar Port Authority, Royal Gibraltar Police, Gibraltar Maritime Administration and Department of Environment which has directly led to this outcome
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 time was carrying out a bunkering operation while anchored in British waters in the Bay of Gibraltar.
After the incident, 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 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.