The Coast Guard announced that it has accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to pay for costs associated with the pollution recovery operations resulting from the sinking of a Mobil Inland Drilling Unit that sank in the Charenton Navigational Canal in April 2010.
"We, along with our partners, are dedicated to mitigating the potential environmental hazard that the MIDU represents," said Capt. Jonathan Burton, commanding officer Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City.
On April 30, 2010, the Hercules 61 overturned after taking on water while transiting the canal and sank in its current position just south of the I-90 Bridge. The MIDU has a 20,000-gallon diesel fuel capacity, but there is no current estimate on how much fuel was on board at the time of the incident.
"We continue to work with local, state and federal partners to alleviate the potential for increased environmental risks," said Burton. "Through further assessment, the Coast Guard has determined that utilizing the OSLTF to mitigate environmental hazards and affect oil and pollution clean-up is the best course of action at this time."
The decision to open the OSLTF came after the company that had an approved salvage plan to recover the rig announced they were suspending operations.
The OSLTF is a stable source of Federal funding that makes it possible for cleanup equipment and personnel to be instantly deployed, provides money to compensate claimants for damages from pollution and provides money to restore natural resources.