Tanker free after grounding off Galveston, Texas

The SN Federica, a 750-foot tanker vessel, churns up mud while attempting to free itself after running aground 35 miles off Galveston, March 31, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin R. Williams)

The SN Federica, a 750-foot tanker vessel, sits dead in the water after running aground 35 miles off Galveston March 31, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin R. Williams)

HOUSTON — The Coast Guard has been monitoring response efforts for an oil tanker that ran aground Tuesday, 35 miles east of Galveston. The tanker was freed from grounding as it refloated at 10:32 p.m.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a call from the captain of the 750-foot Italian flagged oil tanker SN Federica, reporting that while transiting into the Galveston Fairway they ran aground and incurred damage to the forepeak of the vessel, causing an ingress of water. The ingress of water was later determined to be ballast water and the ship was not leaking.

Watchstanders launched crews from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City, Coast Guard Station Galveston and Coast Guard Air Station Houston to respond to the incident.

The SN Federica was carrying more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil, or nearly 17 million gallons.

Once on scene, a Coast Guard marine casualty inspector and an investigating officer confirmed that the oil tanker was not taking on water and that there was no pollution. Coast Guard crews also confirmed that the previously reported ingress of water was from the ships ballast tank.

The SN Federica initiated their vessel response plan and began the process of dewatering their ballast tanks. The vessel completed ballast operations and was finally refloated at 10:32 p.m., with no pollution or injuries.

MSU Texas City is overseeing the seaworthiness assessment and investigating the cause of the incident.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port issued an order to restrict the vessel from federal waters until a damage assessment, underwater hull survey, dive report and ship’s classification survey report are complete to validate the seaworthiness of the ship.

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