CG Investigates Tanker Ship in Gravesend Bay

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Coast Guard is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a tanker ship in Gravesend Bay that ruptured a tank around 9 a.m, Jan. 10. The tank was overfilled in the process of on-loading ethanol, which resulted in the rupture, according to Coast Guard marine inspectors.

“Our paramount concern is for the safety of the crew still onboard the vessel and they will not commence any nighttime operations,” said Cmdr. David Flaherty, Coast Guard Sector New York’s incident commander. “The vessel is currently listing at about six degrees, and the vessel’s crew will not attempt to correct the issue until there is enough light tomorrow. The Coast Guard is working with the company, the vessel master and the operator to develop salvage and repair plans, as well as confirm any internal damage to the ship.”

The tanker vessel Sichem Defiance, a 443-ft Marshall Islands-flagged vessel owned by Eitsen Chemical, based in India, was on-loading 55, 000 barrels of ethanol when the incident occurred. The rupture caused a one-meter section of the main deck to collapse.

There were no reports of pollution or injuries resulting from the rupture. The Coast Guard coordinated with the master of the vessel and the New York City Fire Department to place a rescue team onboard once the situation was stabilized earlier in the day.

A 1,000-yard safety zone remains in effect around the vessel, which encompasses the entire Gravesend Bay anchorage. Response boat crews from Coast Guard Station New York, New York City Police Department marine units, the FDNY, a rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City and NYPD aviation units all responded to the scene.

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