Coast Guard coordinates response to recover oil from submerged ship wreck

PORT ARTHUR, Texas – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur is continuing to coordinate response operations to recover oil from a submerged ship wreck 6 miles off Texas Point in the Gulf of Mexico, Friday.

The Coast Guard federal on scene coordinator authorized the opening of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in order to determine and secure the source of an oil sheen. Resolve Marine was contracted, and conducted a preliminary survey that identified a sunken vessel buried in 36 feet of water with only 5 feet of the hull protruding from the bottom of the gulf. After detailed measurements, engineering calculations and samples were taken from the site, it has been determined that the vessel is consistent in size and shape with that of a 417-foot long, 56-foot wide World War II Liberty Ship.

Once the vessel was determined to be the most probable source of discharge, a Unified Command was created and approved plans for surveying, marking, sampling, and quantifying the vessel’s tanks. These efforts resulted in securing the sources of the original oil sheen and the discovery of oil within the vessel’s fuel tanks. At this point, it is estimated that approximately 16,000 gallons of recoverable fuel oil still remain onboard the ship.

Currently, operations are ongoing to tap into the tanks containing oil and pump the oil into a tank onboard a response vessel for further disposal.

The Unified Command consists of MSU Port Arthur and the Texas General Land Office. They have been working with the following agencies to remove the oil from the submerged ship wreck:

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Pollution Fund Center
  • Resolve Marine and Garner Environmental
  • Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team

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