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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Port Arthur, TX – January 2010
On January 23rd, an emergency response team from Resolve Salvage and Fire (Americas), Inc. responded to a call from an OPA 90-client after a crude oil tanker collided with a barge at Port Arthur in the Sabine-Neches Waterway. The barge had penetrated two of the tanker's forward cargo tanks. Locked together and grounded across the narrow channel, the casualty vessels blocked supply shipments to local refineries. Several nearby communities had begun evacuation.
500,000 bbl capacity oil tanker transiting inbound in the ship channel at Port Arthur, Texas loaded with crude oil had a steering failure and collided with an inland tank barge and came to rest aground and sideways in the channel with the bow of the barge stuck in the bow of the ship. The damaged breached the No. 1 S cargo tank and approx. 10,000 bbl of crude oil was spilled from the tank. The crude oil had a high hydrogen sulfide content (a very lethal gas) and resulted in the evacuation of surrounding communities. The hydrogen sulfide gas created a very hazardous environment for working on and near the ship.
Developed immediate plan for fire suppression and fire standby including high capacity bulk foam capability and 24 hr standby with fire teams. Stabilized the vessel in place using 4 tugs – ship and barge separated during a shift in current and were thus stabilized separately. Developed salvage plan to include lightering of cargo from through the side damage and from the wing ballast tank to drop the level of crude well below the damage to enable a safe transit condition out of the ship channel. Brought lightering barge alongside and commenced lightering operation – all salvage crew in protective air breathing apparatus and fire suits. Utilized high flow fire monitors for hydraulic ventilation to direct hydrogen sulfide vapors away from area during operations.
After lightering plan, developed transit plan and shifted the vessel to safe anchorage at Sun Terminal. Engineered offload sequence to minimize hull stressed in way of damage. Continued to provide FF standby and supported operation to remove hazardous cargo from all ballast tanks and clean tanks and prepare ship for transit to shipyard.
Resolve Marine Group, Inc provides emergency response around the world to vessels in distress. The Salvage and Fire division specializes in Emergency Salvage Response, Lightering, Marine Fire-Fighting, and can be cited in OPA 90 vessel response plans for salvage, marine firefighting and lightering coverage. For more information, please visit www.resolvesalvage.com.