Tanker Aground in Ambrose Channel Finally Freed

 NEW YORK-Three tugs safely pulled the grounded 800-foot tanker ship White Sea from the Ambrose shipping channel’s sandy bottom at 6:20 p.m. today during high tide after 121,000 barrels of the 556,000 barrels of low sulfur fuel oil cargo was lightered to Bouchard Barge B-230 earlier today. There were no reports of fuel product in the water.

Lightering operations started a little after 2:00 a.m. today and ended shortly after 4:00 p.m. The White Sea proceeded under its own power with 3 tugs assisting it to Stapleton Anchorage, off Staten Island, where it arrived at approximately 8:30 p.m. While at Stapleton, divers will conduct another hull survey.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues its investigation and has issued a Captain of the Port Order prohibiting the ship from departing until a satisfactory inspection by the ship’s classification society.

“Several factors contributed to this successful outcome,” said Lt. j.g. Kathryn Campagnini, Coast Guard Sector New York Command Duty Officer. “The sandy bottom, the ship’s double-hull design, and the mild sea state were key in helping avert a potential spill. After lightering the 120,000 barrels of fuel to enhance buoyancy, three tugs successfully assisted in refloating the White Sea. This is about as good an ending as you can expect.”

The White Sea was en route Singapore from Bayonne, N.J. with 556,000 barrels of low sulfur fuel oil when it lost steering and ran aground by buoy 14 in  the Ambrose shipping channel, about four miles north of Sandy Hook, N.J. at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. The ship suffered breaches to two ballast water tanks, but the product compartments inside the double-hulled ship remain intact.

The location of the grounded ship caused no delays to other incoming and departing shipping.

The White Sea is owned by the Singapore-based Tanker Pacific Management on a time charter to United Arab  Emirates-based Westport Shipping Services. Its local agent is Atlantic Shipping Company.

The seas are reported as calm, two-to-four foot seas and northwesterly winds at 10-15 knots.

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