The Gibraltar Port Authority called off all port operations yesterday morning following an oil spill incident in the bay.

The port suspended all of its operations and initiated its oil spill contingency plan in conjunction with the Department of Environment, to ensure every asset was available to help combat the spillage and tackle the incident.

Early indications are that the impact of the oil spill has been limited to the area of Camp Bay and Rosia Bay.

The incident occurred on Tuesday morning 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, said the port yesterday.

Spanish authorities have been notified as part of the automatic procedure, whilst response operations were underway.

Quantifying the amount of oil released into the bay is not currently the main priority as this can be misrepresented at this stage of the clean-up process, said the port authority, adding that this data will be gathered throughout, and the final figures will be made available once the clean-up operations have been concluded.

In accordance with the latest information given by the port, there have not been any sightings of any free floating streaks of oil moving away from this area, however this is being continuously monitored and may change with the tides.

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.

The Port authority warns that “bathers are urged to be cautious even if Yellow flags are flying.”

Also caution is advised for those at sea on pleasure boats and when fishing from a boat or from shore.

“The Gibraltar Port Authority will give further updates on the incident when information becomes available,” as it is also stated by the authority.