Historic US Warship Capsizes in Buffalo
A retired U.S. Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans has capsized after suffering a severe hull breech while moored on the Buffalo waterfront.
On April 13, the 376-foot Fletcher-class destroyer-turned-museum experienced an electrical power-loss resulting in the failure of the onboard water discharge pumps. Progressive flooding and extreme weather conditions caused the vessel to list 45 degrees on its starboard side.
Private contractors have been brought on-site by the Buffalo Naval Park to begin dewatering the vessel with four industrial dewatering pumps capable of discharging more than 13,000 gallons of water per minute. U.S. Coast Guard on-scene pollution responders have temporarily halted dewatering operations, due to the discovery of oil products in the water.
The progressive flooding and positioning of the ship has compromised the consolidated oil tanks onboard, which led to the release of fuel oil into the permanent mooring area. The Coast Guard said it is working closely with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Naval Military Park, and the City of Buffalo to identify the source of the oil discharge and ensure the area has been thoroughly cleared before dewatering operations can resume.
The Coast Guard has coordinated the deployment of 1,000 feet of containment boom and more than 2,000 feet of absorbent sausage boom to further prevent the introduction of oil into the Buffalo River.
Miller Environmental Group has been contracted to conduct oil recovery operations using vacuum truck systems which has collected 2,525 gallons of oil. More than 40 contracted personnel from Miller Environmental Group and Bidco Marine Group are continuing in an effort to assess the source of leak.
The Sullivans received nine battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean War service. In 1977, the ship was donated to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, N.Y. to serve as a memorial open to public tours.