Stern stabilization efforts nearly complete for barge Davy Crockett

The Davy Crockett, a converted 431-foot flat deck barge,  released an estimated 70-gallons of oil during a commercial  salvage on Jan. 27, 2011. On Feb. 3, 2011, ballasting operations  began after a week of planning by the Coast Guard, Washington  Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of  Environmental Quality. The stern was lowered a total of  17-feet in order to safely inspect the remaining compartments.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J.  Chandler.

Davy Crockett photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer Eric J. Chandler.

PORTLAND, Ore. — After a day of carefully pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of Columbia River water into two of its cargo holds, operations to stabilize the Davy Crockett stern are nearly complete.

Once this step is complete, divers will be able to survey the stern tanks to investigate compartments that have yet to be assessed for oil, fuel or other contaminants. This work will begin once the work to stabilize the stern is complete.

The 431-foot converted flat-deck barge, Davy Crockett, partially sank on the shoreline of the Columbia River near Camas, Wash., approximately four miles upstream from the Interstate 205 bridge. The Davy Crockett is a former U.S. Navy Liberty Ship that has been converted to a flat-deck barge by a private owner.

The ballasting operations began this morning around 10 a.m. after a week of planning and preparation by the Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Four remotely-operated pumps began slowly filling the stern with thousands of gallons of river water. Cameras mounted in the two tanks provided engineers real-time information about what was going on in the tanks.

By 5 p.m., the stern had dropped almost nine feet.

Other work planned for the coming days includes sampling river sediments and water to measure impacts of PCB-tainted oil that was released from the Davy Crockett and making decisions about how to address any pollutants that could be on board.

Latest figures from the response:

  • 128 personnel responding from local, state, federal agencies and response contractors
  • 3,500 gallons of oily water collected
  • 49,600 pounds of debris removed (batteries, rail ties, mercury-laden lamps, tires)
  • 3,600 feet of oil containment boom deployed
  • 10,000 feet of adsorbent boom in the water
  • Skimmers at the ready are capable of capturing 750,000 gallons per day of oil

The morning of Jan. 27, 2011, the Washington Dept. of Ecology received reports of a light sheen and traced it back to the Davy Crockett. Ecology estimates that 70 gallons of oil were released that day.

Immediate response actions were taken and a Unified Command was formed, consisting of Coast Guard, Ecology and the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality.

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