Barge Returned to Port

Friday, December 23, 2005
The re-floated double-hulled tank barge DBL152 started its voyage for Alabama, where it will await final disposition. The barge capsized after it collided with a submerged platform while en route from Houston to Tampa, Fla. The intended destination for the barge is the Holcim dock in Theodore, Ala.

During the last two weeks, the barge was re-floated and more than two million gallons of the cargo was safely offloaded, emptying the barge of all but residual product.

Three cargo tanks were damaged on the barge. One cargo tank leaked initially from the collision on Nov. 10, and two others leaked after the barge capsized.

The barge's oil cargo is a thick, heavy petroleum product known as number-six fuel oil. The oil is heavier than water, and sinks to the bottom of the sea.

Responders have staged equipment to conduct diver, sonar, and video surveys of the submerged oil and are monitoring the movement of up to three million gallons of oil that was spilled onto the ocean floor. Submerged oil recovery operations began in the vicinity of the barge DBL152 as soon as the barge began moving.

The Texas General Land Office (TGLO) continues to monitor Texas beaches for any indication of oiling. The TGLO, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, the barge owner, the Coast Guard, and other agencies have developed a shoreline clean-up plan, which will be implemented if oil is found along the Texas or Louisiana coastlines. No oil from the double-hulled tank barge DBL 152 has reached either the Texas or Louisiana coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has determined that the likelihood of shoreline impact from the incident is low.

Survey and clean-up operations are not obstructing marine traffic fairways. A four-mile safety zone is in effect around the initial collision site, with obstructions marked by lighted buoys and a second eight by ten-mile safety zone is in effect around the area of oil recovery operations.

The incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

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