The captain of the OS 35 bulk carrier that sank off Gibraltar in August 2022 has pleaded guilty in a Gibraltar court and faces prison. Abdulbari Kaddoura, a Syrian national, will be convicted on June 12 on charges that carry a two-year prison sentence. Prosecutors had indicted the captain on six charges ranging from conduct that endangered the safety of his ship to failing to comply with regulations that prevented a collision. The captain pleaded guilty to three charges related to the operation of the ship, and the other three remain open, including pollution damage to antiques.
According to reports, the bulk carrier OS-35 sailed to the Netherlands with a cargo of steel rebar, having arrived from Oman, and struck the Adam LNG, a gas tanker that only slightly damaged. Prosecutors informed the court that they would grant the plea and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 12. The government has spent nearly $9 million on response to the OS-35 victim, and the Port Authority of Gibraltar plans to seek reimbursement from the ship’s insurers.
A lawyer for the captain told the Gibraltar Chronicle that he would seek fines and a suspended sentence, stating that the accident was the result of a “professional misjudgment.” The lawyer said wind and tides contributed to the accident, and a sequence of events led to the bulk carrier ramming the other ship.
After the Alliance arrived, the ship was directed by authorities to a position less than 1,000 feet off Catalan Bay, where it landed bow-to-bottom. The bow was initially at a depth of about 56 feet, and salvage teams later decided to sink the ship’s stern. They are now preparing an operation planned for the coming weeks to raise and remove the wreck. The sentencing hearing is scheduled ten days after the salvage team expects to remove the ship’s parts from the seabed, with a revised timeline for the salvage project’s completion set for June 16.
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