Unified Command to use dispersant on oil spill

HOUSTON — A unified command comprised of the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, O’Brien’s Response Management and AET will use dispersants Wednesday in response to an oil spill that occurred late Tuesday night.

The 820-foot Liberian-flagged tank ship Krymsk is currently stable after sustaining damage to a fuel tank when the 166-foot offshore supply vessel AET Endeavor made contact with the vessel 40 miles southeast of Galveston Tuesday night. The two vessels had just completed a planned lightering operation when the incident occurred. Action was taken by the crew of the Krymsk to transfer oil from the damaged fuel tank to a separate undamaged fuel tank. The tank ship’s captain reported that approximately 18,000 gallons of fuel oil was spilled. The Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of this marine casualty and the volume of oil spilled.

The unified command has decided to deploy a dispersant after determining that on-water recovery methods would not be possible due to the weather conditions. The dispersant will be sprayed over the oil slick by a DC3 aircraft.

Dispersants are products that are applied to the water surface in order to break up surface oil slicks, a process called dispersion, and facilitate the movement of oil particles into the water column.

“The Coast Guard plans, trains and exercises daily with our interagency partners to respond to these types of incidents,” said Cmdr. Jim Elliott, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston. “Last night, we immediately joined with our fellow federal, state and industry responders to develop and implement a response plan to mitigate this oil spill’s impact to our shorelines and environmentally sensitive areas,” Elliott said.

The spill is not currently affecting shipping traffic.

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