Bow Mariner Update: Oil Recovery Efforts Continue

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A fire-damaged lifeboat from the Bow Mariner drifts Feb. 29, 2004, after the vessel sank the night before off Chincoteague, Va. (Side View) (Photo Credit: US Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard flights continues off the coast of Virginia to search for survivors and to survey the state of the fuel oil spilled from the chemical tanker which exploded and sank Saturday evening. The vessel, T/V Bow Mariner, a Singapore-flagged chemical tanker, had left Linden, New Jersey for Texas City, Texas, carrying a partial cargo of 3.2 million gallons of ethanol.

Northwest winds in the area are carrying the floating fuel oil farther out to sea, and the US Weather Service predicted those winds will continue. The ethanol is dissipating. The fuel oil clumping into solid balls and mats floating on or just beneath the surface in quantities too small to recover. The Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) oil recovery vessel, the “ Virginia Responder”, is on scene with support from a US Coast Guard C-130 fixed wing aircraft.

The environmental clean-up operations are being managed from the USCG Marine Safety Office in Norfolk, Va., by an inter-agency Unified Command, which includes the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality, Maryland Dept. of Environment, and representatives from the vessel owners and vessel managers.

The overflights are being made by a Coast Guard C-130, which carries sophisticated electronic equipment to help the crew see details on the surface of the water.

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