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 Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

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


Port of Bronka Prepares for Opening

Technical plant and equipment installation for the first stage of Bronka’s port facilities is now complete with the Liebherr LHM 800 mobile port crane installed at the end of September,

Oshawa Port Authority Joins Green Marine

The Oshawa Port Authority, one of Green Marine’s founding members as the former Oshawa Harbor Commission, announced it is again a Green Marine participant.   Green

McAllister Towing – 150 Years of Family Business

“Early in 1864, a young man names James McAllister stood on board a sailing vessel where he served as a mate. The boat was about to set sail from the Red Bay of


Fincantieri Launches Nuclear Waste Vessel for Russia

New semisubmersible floating platform will be used to transport special material decommissioned by the Russian Navy    Itarus, the new semisubmersible floating

Crowley Opens Government Services Office

Crowley Maritime Corp. has opened a new government services office in downtown Norfolk, Va. to help the company better serve government agencies such as the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the U.

Interview: Mike Petters - President & CEO, HII

Last month Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII), was honored by the Coast Guard Foundation at the 35th Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard,

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0768 sec (13 req/sec)