Vessel Grounded Outside San Juan Harbor

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
The Coast Guard approved the salvage and oil removal plans earlier this week for the M/V Kent Reliant which has been grounded outside San Juan harbor since September 18. The salvage operation will begin with the removal of all the vessel’s oil products which is expected to last two days then the partial removal of cargo is expected to begin. A Protective boom has been deployed and staged in environmentally sensitive areas around Isla de Cabras and Isla de Esperanza. The salvage company, Titan Marine, was forced to delay the start of offloading procedures for the heavy fuel oil today due to poor weather conditions. The primary considerations of the response coordinators, Federal On-Scene Commander, Coast Guard Capt. William Uberti, and the commonwealth’s incident commander, Carmelo Baez Rivera from the State Management Agency, are personnel and environmental safety. Once the vessel is re-floated it will be taken out and into the ship channel following the same path of its grounding to prevent any further damage to the reef. The ship will then be taken to a pier where the owners and marine surveyors can make an evaluation of the damage to the vessel. Personnel from commonwealth, local and federal agencies and the vessel representatives meet on a daily basis to evaluate progress and ensure that all plans and actions allow for the safe salvaging of the vessel with minimal damage to the marine environment. Coast Guard personnel are presently onboard the Kent Reliant to oversee operations and make sure that the salvage team adheres to the plans as approved by the unified command. Coast Guard investigators are continue to interview crewmembers and are collecting evidence to determine the cause of the grounding.

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