Coast Guard working to free grounded tanker in Galveston

by Hans | July 16th, 2010

GALVESTON, Texas – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Galveston and the Texas General Land Office are preparing to oversee the lightering and salvage of the chemical tanker Isabel Knutsen, a 523-foot ship that ran aground in the southeastern corner of the intersection of the intracoastal waterway and the Houston Ship Channel Tuesday.

The tank ship is carrying approximately 15,520 metric tons of liquid chemical cargo and approximately 663 metric tons of fuel oil. The vessel is currently stable, structurally intact, and not discharging any oil or cargo. Vessel traffic in the region continues as normal.

Tugboats unsuccessfully attempted to free the ship which became stuck after reportedly losing steering just before 6 a.m. yesterday morning.  

“The U.S. Coast Guard responded immediately when the Isabel Knutsen ran aground yesterday. There is currently no pollution associated with the grounded vessel and the waterways remain open. Attempts to refloat the vessel have been unsuccessful. We will now oversee the lightering of the ship’s cargo to refloat the vessel, ensure the safety of the crew and prevent any environmental impacts,” said Commander Jim Elliott, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston.

Lightering is a process that reduces the tank ship’s weight by transferring some of its cargo to another vessel. Coast Guard personnel, the Resolve Marine Group and ECM Maritime Services are creating a comprehensive lightering plan that will allow the chemical tanker’s cargo to be transferred without causing pollution.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

Source: Caost Guard News
Photo: Knutsen; Maritime Bulletin

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