Tanker Ship Runs Aground in Ambrose Channel

 NEW YORK- The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring a tanker that ran aground on a hard, sandy bottom in the Ambrose Channel about four miles north of Sandy Hook. N.J. 6:30 a.m. today.

The 800-foot doubled-hulled tank ship White Sea was traveling outbound from Bayonne, N.J. with 556,000 barrels of low sulfur fuel oil en route to Singapore when it lost steering and ran aground just outside the shipping channel. The White Sea, owned by the Tanker Pacific Company on a time charter to Westport Shipping, has suffered hull breaches in the fore port peak tank and the #1 port ballast tank. There are no reports of product in the water. Its crew deployed an oil containment boom around the vessel as a precaution. There have been no reports of injuries.

A Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook 25-foot rescue boat has established a safety zone around the vessel. A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City Dolphin helicopter conducted an overhead assessment and has verified that no oil has leaked into the water. The Bayonne, N.J. based Coast Guard Cutter Katherine Walker is on also on scene.

Three tugs from McAllister Towing are on scene.

Coast Guard Sector New York Marine Inspectors and Investigators are aboard the vessel and have initiated an investigation into the grounding. A salvage plan is being developed to lighter the vessel and to refloat it safely off the sandy bottom. The next high tide is at 9:00 p.m.

“We have the Atlantic Area Strike Team from Fort Dix, N.J., the Coast Guard Cutters Katherine Walker and Willow, along with other response agencies on standby and ready with oil recovery booming capabilities in the low probability that oil spills into the water,” said Lt. Richard Sullivan, Coast Guard Sector New York command duty officer.

Once the ship is freed, it will be taken to a nearby anchorage for a close examination if its hull and steering gear. A Captain of the Port Order is prohibiting the ship from departing until a satisfactory inspection by the ship’s classification society.

The seas are reported as calm.

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