NAVSEA Takes Lead in Repairing Oil Leak from Sunken Ship

Friday, February 08, 2002
Divers from Mobile Underwater Diving Salvage Unit (MUDSU) 1 based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, will soon descend into a Pacific lagoon to stop a recent oil leak and assess the material condition of a World War II Navy oil tanker that sank in 1944. USS Mississinewa (AO 59), a 553-foot auxiliary oiler, was commissioned May 18, 1944, and supported the ships of the 3rd Fleet in the Central and South Pacific. The huge lagoon at Ulithi Atoll was an anchorage for hundreds of Pacific Fleet ships and major staging area for campaigns at Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Mississinewa was anchored in Ulithi's lagoon when it was struck by a Japanese-manned suicide torpedo, or "kaiten," on the morning of Nov. 20, 1944. The ship burst into flames and sank, killing 63 American Sailors. Fire-fighting fleet tugs pulled more than 200 Sailors from the burning waters of the lagoon. In April 2001, after several years of searching by sport divers, Mississinewa was located at a depth of 135 feet. An oil leak coming from Mississinewa was discovered in August 2001. In a mission funded by the Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Protection, Safety and Occupational Health Division (CNO N45), divers contracted through the NAVSEA's Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) stopped the leak with a temporary concrete patch and pumped an oil-and-water mixture from one ship compartment. SUPSALV salvage and environmental operations specialist Bill Walker said a survey team from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Coast Guard reported that the environmental impact from the leak was minimal.

On Dec. 23, 2001, another leak was reported. According to an article published in the Pacific Daily News, Yap State disaster coordinator Jesse Raglmar-Subolmar said the oil is drifting away from areas fished by the majority of Ulithi's approximately 700 residents. On Feb. 3, 2002, the MUDSU 1 team arrived on station to support the NAVSEA effort in order to survey the hull and attempt to seal the oil leak. The operation is expected to take one week. "Instead of doing a 'Band-Aid' fix, we're planning a more permanent solution," Walker said.

The government of the Federated States of Micronesia, the state in which Ulithi Atoll lies, has been officially informed by the State Department that the U.S. government will remove the remaining oil from Mississinewa. The oiler was nearly full at the time of the attack in 1944. SUPSALV, Director of Salvage Operations, Tom Salmon said that, depending on what is found, the divers may use epoxies to plug the leak. He added that the ship will not be lifted or moved, and divers will not go inside. This action will not be considered a disturbance of a war grave. Not disturbing the gravesite is important to the 47 living survivors of the sinking of Mississinewa, who are very concerned about the resting place of their shipmates.

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

Greece Will Sell Piraeus Port Stake in Weeks

The Greek government will sell its majority stake in the port of Piraeus within weeks, the country's deputy prime minister told China's official Xinhua news agency,

China Unveils Action Plan on Maritime Silk Road

China has unveiled the principles, framework, and cooperation priorities and mechanisms in its Maritime Silk Road initiative in a bid to enhance regional connectivity

China Maritime Silk Road to Touch India for Namesake

Chinese officials on Saturday fleshed out some details for the country's ambitious 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project in its “one belt, one road,” action plan.

Navy

Obangame Express 2015 Concludes in the Gulf of Guinea

Maritime forces from Gulf of Guinea nations, Europe, South America, and the United States and several regional and international organizations concluded the multinational maritime exercise,

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China?

Vietnam's new submarines could alter the balance in the South China Sea quite dramatically, say maritime security analysts.   Vietnam and China have long contested

India May Add Japanese Soryu-Class Submarines to its Fleet

India is reportedly considering a project to incorporate six Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines into its fleet, says The Japan Times.   The Defense

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1865 sec (5 req/sec)