Unified Command continues to respond to oil spill off Galveston coast

HOUSTON — The Unified Command continues to respond to an oil spill about 40 miles Southeast of Galveston, Texas, Friday.

During a morning overflight to assess the oil spill, crews discovered sporadic”tar patties”, or pieces of weathered oil, approximately 32 miles offshore.

The Unified Command has directed a vessel from the National Response Corporation, the NRC Admiral, to areas where oil has been spotted. The vessel has the capability to recover the oil mechanically. Additionally, small amounts of additional dispersants were applied to the sporadic tar patties to further disperse the oil.

On Wednesday, approximately 1,000 gallons of dispersants were applied to the offshore oil spill, and overflights on Thursday showed that the initial application was successful.

“The multi-agency Unified Command continues to aggressively focus on minimizing the impacts to shorelines and environmentally sensitive areas. The rapid application of dispersants in the early hours of this response combined with ready on-water recovery assets appears to have been effective in preventing the oil spill from reaching shore to date,” said Cmdr. Jim Elliott, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston.

The 820-foot Liberian-flagged tank ship Krymsk sustained damage to a fuel tank when the 166-foot offshore supply vessel AET Endeavor made contact with the vessel 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. Based on the volume of oil transferred, investigators determined approximately 14,000 gallons of fuel oil was spilled. The Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of this marine casualty.

The following agencies comprise the Unified Command responding to this oil spill:

Coast Guard
Texas General Land Office
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Texas Parks and Wildlife
O’Brien’s Response Management

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