Coast Guard transfers Spirit of Sacramento to EPA following petroleum product removal operations

The tug Amy Elise pushes the Spirit of Sacramento through the water Sept. 30, 2016, near Sausalito, Calif. Coast Guard and Global Diving and Salvage, Inc. personnel started salvage operations 87-foot vessel on Sept. 28. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Josh Lane.

The tug Amy Elise pushes the Spirit of Sacramento through the water Sept. 30, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Josh Lane.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Army Corps of Engineers and other partner agencies completed the removal of the petroleum products aboard the Spirit of Sacramento Wednesday.

Following a righting and dewatering operation Sept. 28, the Spirit of Sacramento arrived at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito Friday afternoon. Global Diving and Salvage, Inc., conducted petroleum product removal operations throughout the weekend and removed approximately 130 gallons of oily water mixture.

The Coast Guard has transferred the Spirit of Sacramento to the Environmental Protection Agency, which plans to remove hazardous material from the vessel at a later date. The Coast Guard plans to work with the EPA in the case that residual lube oils and other petroleum pollutants are discovered during the EPA’s hazardous materials abatement process.

The total amount of money expended by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to pay for the righting, dewatering and petroleum pollution removal of Spirit of Sacramento is approximately $1.6 million. This fund is set aside to aid in oil removal activities and damage assessment costs incurred by the Coast Guard. The largest source of revenue for the fund is a per-barrel excise tax, collected from the oil industry on petroleum produced in, or imported to the United States. Another source is cost recoveries and penalties from responsible parties; those responsible for oil incidents are liable for costs and damages.

The National Pollution Funds Center serves as the fiduciary for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and will handle all cost recovery efforts from the responsible party.

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