The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said it oversaw the refloating of the 751-foot bulk carrier, Ornak, Friday. At approximately 9:35 a.m., the Ornak was refloated offshore of the Virginia Beach Resort and Convention Center and repositioned to the Lynnhaven anchorage.
Agencies involved in the removal of the grounded ship were Svitzer, the contracted salvage company, McAllister towing, the Virginia Pilots and the Coast Guard.
"Freeing this vessel from the beach was truly a collaborative effort," said Capt. John Little, the Captain of the Port of Hampton Roads. "The coordination today and over the last few days between the salvage company, the Coast Guard engineers, including the team from the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Center in Washington, D.C., McAllister Towing and our port partners brought this event to a successful conclusion. The vessel is now undergoing inspections to verify that the ship poses no hazard to the port or the environment prior to being returned to commercial service."
Friday morning, ballast water began being pumped off the Ornak. Afterwards, two McAllister tugs, the 5,150 horsepower AJ McAllister and the 4,650 horsepower Emily Anne McAllister, attached tow lines to the vessel and slowly began towing the ship toward deeper water. The vessel was freed on an incoming tide at approx 9:35 a.m. and anchored further from shore where an underwater hull survey will be conducted.
Once the ship is deemed safe, the USCG will remove the captain of the port restrictions and allow the vessel to continue on its intended voyage to load grain at the Purdue facility at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.