Oil spill reaches Ibiza

10 tonnes of fuel extract from sunken ship near Ibiza – 3 beaches have already been affected

On Wednesday afternoon the merchant ship called Don Pedro left the port in Ibiza on its way to Valencia. However, it didn’t get very far and 10 minutes later it struck a small island called ‘Isla de Daus’ just one nautical mile from the port in Ibiza. Don Pedro was carrying 150 tonnes of fuel and 50 tonnes of diesel oil. The ship took just 30 minutes to sink and fuel started leaking from its hull in several places.

The situation was considered to be so serious that the Minister for Transport, Magdalena Alvarez, returned urgently to Spain from an official visit to Uruguay in order to put into action a rescue and salvage plan.

Nevertheless, 3 beaches on Ibiza have been closed to the public due to contamination by the oil slick and although divers involved in the salvage operation have sealed off the three places where the oil was leaking from they have discovered a broken fuel pipe which is also leaking oil.

The oil slick covers an area 3 miles long and half a mile wide according to Alvarez. The transport minister has announced today that 3,500 metres of anti-contamination barriers have been sent to protect the Ibizan coastline in order to try and prevent further beach closures at the start of the summer holidays.

In a press statement the Transport Minister has explained that this is a very different situation to that of the Prestige oil spillage in which 70,000 tonnes of fuel contaminated much of the Galician, Asturian and Cantabrian coastline.
Unfavourable wind conditions have meant that the oil has not taken long to reach the coast and a clean up operation is now underway on the first contaminated beach. Tomorrow the number of people cleaning the beach will rise from 20 to 50 but so far no volunteers have been called for.

Samples for analysis have already been taken from the affected beaches although it is not clear when the results of the will be known.

The president of the Ibizan regional government, Chicu Tarrés, has called for calm and has highlighted the fact that only 500 metres out of a total of 18 kilometres of coastline have been affected.

An investigation by the public prosecutor on the Balearic islands has already been opened in order to find out who is responsible for the accident. The Spanish Civil Guard have been asked to investigate the oil spillage from Don Pedro which belongs to a company called Iscomar given that it could have disastrous consequences for the environment as well as having a serious effect on people’s health.

Related: Guide to Ibiza