Tank ship ordered to leave berth by Coast Guard

LOS ANGELES – The Coast Guard ordered the tank ship High Harmony from its berth, where it was offloading its cargo of gasoline, to an outer anchorage in the Port of Long Beach early this morning due to its tanks reaching oxygen levels as high as 20 percent.

Marine safety inspectors from the California State Lands Commission, who are responsible for monitoring these types of cargo transfers, reported the unsafe condition aboard the High Harmony to the Coast Guard late Friday night. The Captain of the Port determined that a significant hazard existed to the port and ordered the vessel to immediately cease cargo operations and vent its cargo tanks.

Tank ships are required to operate an inert gas system (IGS) that pumps inert gas into their tanks as they offload their cargo in order to maintain oxygen levels below eight percent. Oxygen levels higher than eight percent may present an explosive hazard for some cargoes.

The High Harmony was ordered to move from its berth to an outer anchorage in the Port of Long Beach until an investigation into the cause of the high oxygen levels is complete.

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