MSU Galveston oversees lightering of grounded tank ship

GALVESTON, Texas – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Galveston is overseeing lightering operations, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, in an attempt to free the 800-foot tank ship Yasa Golden Dardanelles, which is grounded 22 miles off the Galveston coast.

The lightering process entails transferring the grounded tank ship’s cargo to another vessel, in an effort to refloat the Yasa Golden Dardanelles. Coast Guard personnel are on board the Yasa Golden Dardanelles monitoring the transfer and inspecting the tank ship. A Marine Spill Corporation vessel is also onsite with pollution mitigation equipment. Crews are anticipated to offload 3.5 million gallons of the tank ship’s cargo in an effort to refloat the vessel.

Once the tank ship refloats commercial divers will perform an underwater hull inspection. Naval engineers and inspectors will also examine the tank ship before it enters the port.

The Yasa Golden Dardanelles became grounded on the north side of the Galveston Safety Fairway, Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. The tank ship was carrying 621,000 barrels of low sulfur fuel oil when it became grounded. The tank ship is not discharging oil or impeding vessel traffic.

“The Coast Guard trains every day to respond to incidents such as this. The crew on board is safe, no oil has leaked into the water, and vessel traffic is moving as scheduled,” said Cmdr. Jim Elliott, commanding officer of MSU Galveston.

A Unified Command has been established at MSU Galveston. The UC is responsible for creating the lightering plan to safely free the Yasa Golden Dardanelles. The following organizations comprise the UC:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Texas General Land Office

United States Mineral Management Service

Tower Navigation, Inc.

Titan Salvage

O’Brien’s Response Management

Marine Spill Response Organization

SPT Inc.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Galveston

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