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Dispersants used in response to US bunker spill

Response plan implemented to mitigate the impact of a bunker spill off the coast of Galveston.



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Updated on 22 Oct 2009 09:42 GMT

A unified command comprised of the US Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, O’Brien’s Response Management and AET used dispersants on Wednesday in response to an oil spill that occurred late Tuesday night.

The 820-foot Liberian-flagged tank ship Krymsk is currently said to be "stable" after sustaining damage to a fuel tank when the 166-foot offshore supply vessel AET Endeavor made contact with the vessel 40 miles southeast of Galveston on Tuesday night.

The two vessels had just completed a planned lightering operation when the incident occurred.

Action was taken by the crew of the Krymsk to transfer oil from the damaged fuel tank to a separate undamaged fuel tank. The tank ship's captain reported that approximately 18,000 gallons of fuel oil was spilled. The Coast Guard said it is continuing to investigate the cause of the incident and the volume of oil spilled.

The unified command decided to deploy a dispersant after determining that on-water recovery methods would not be possible due to the weather conditions. The dispersant was sprayed over the oil slick by a DC3 aircraft.

Dispersants are products that are applied to the water surface in order to break up surface oil slicks, a process called dispersion, and facilitate the movement of oil particles into the water column.

"The Coast Guard plans, trains and exercises daily with our interagency partners to respond to these types of incidents," said Commander Jim Elliott, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston.

"Last night, we immediately joined with our fellow federal, state and industry responders to develop and implement a response plan to mitigate this oil spill's impact to our shorelines and environmentally sensitive areas," Elliott said.

The spill is not currently affecting shipping traffic, the US Coast Guard said yesterday.






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