A clean-up operation is underway in Algeciras after an oil spill from the Cepsa refinery monobuoy last night.
Cepsa said a mix of crude oil and water was discharged into the sea at around 8.45pm on Tuesday evening.
By morning, over half a kilometre of beach in El Rinconcillo had been tarred black.
An investigation is under way but Cepsa said early indications were that the spill was the result of a “mechanical failure”.
Maintenance teams were preparing to shut down the monobuoy for its annual inspection at the time. The buoy is anchored offshore opposite the refinery and is used to allow large tankers to discharge cargo into storage tanks on shore.
As soon as the spill was detected, the refinery activated its emergency plan and contacted port authorities and emergency services in Algeciras, as well as the Junta de Andalucia’s environment department.
By dawn today, a clean-up operation was under way at sea and on the beach in El Rinconcillo, in the northwest corner of the Bay of Gibraltar.
The prevailing levanter weather meant the oil was pushed away from the Rock towards the Palmones area.