The Port of Gibraltar announced it’s reopening for bunkering operations after the captain of the port suspended operations on 1 August due to an “oil spill incident” in its harbour.

The incident happened at around 8:22am on 1 August, in the southern portion of the Western anchorage, when a ship carrying oil encountered a tank overflow.

The captain of the port reopened for non-bunkering operations on 2 August, however, the bunkering suspension lasted an extra three days.

The captain of the Gibraltar Port announced the re-opening and expectancies across the bay: “Yellow flags have been raised at both Little Bay and Camp Bay. This will be constantly monitored and beachgoers are asked to report any sightings of oil or sheen to the lifeguards. Red flags may be raised again if necessary.

“Booms are being replaced in Rosia Bay whilst the coastal cleanup continues to be ramped up with low-volume, high-pressure washing. Vessels continue to skim in the area for free-floating sheen with sorbent booms.”

The event instigated the Gibraltar Port Authority to initiate its oil spill contingency plan in conjunction with the Department of Environment.

As an associate member of Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), Gibraltar is able to call on its resources and equipment to assist in any major incident.

According to Science Direct, oil contamination may persist in the marine environment for many years after an oil spill and in most cases with completion set within two and ten years.

The Government of Gibraltar reported what appeared to be “good” and “steady” progress in the oil clean-up effort, which led to the reopening so soon after the incident.