‘Big Blue’ Update: Salvage Continues for Sunken Dry Dock in Guam

January 6, 2010 – GUAM – Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team members continue to provide oversight and monitor salvage operation plans for the sunken dry dock “Big Blue” in Apra Harbor, Thursday.

Strike Team members reviewed the fuel transfer plan and testing of fuel transfer lines. Guam Shipyard personnel transferred diesel fuel from the dry dock, Big Blue, to a fuel tank aboard the tugboat Marianas Voyager.

The transfer process was conducted at a rate of 480 gallons per hour. The fuel was transferred from the generator fuel tank located in a machinery space on Big Blue. This tank is the largest source of fuel on the dry dock. The fuel transfer was discontinued at sunset and will resume tomorrow morning at first light. Once the fuel tank is empty, the next step in the process of dewatering the remaining compartments will take place.

A member from the 14th Coast Guard District Response Advisory Team from Honolulu and three members of the Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team are on scene to assist Guam Shipyard with establishing recovery goals and provide expertise to ensure Big Blue is safely raised out of the water. After surveying the dry dock, Pacific Strike Team member Chief Boatswain’s Mate Benjamin Gamad said, “All agencies are working well together to reach a solution and mitigate any potential environmental impacts.”

U. S. Coast Guard Sector Guam urges all commercial and recreational boating traffic to remain vigilant while transiting near Big Blue. To report any debris or signs of oil in the water call the Sector Guam Command Center at 671-564-USCG.

UPDATE: As of Friday afternoon Guam Shipyard successfully transferred approximately 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel onto the tug Marianas Voyager, emptying the diesel fuel tank aboard Big Blue ahead of schedule. To date this tank is the largest known quantity of fuel aboard Big Blue.

With the diesel fuel removed from Big Blue, Guam Shipyard is now moving forward with plans to remove oily waste water from the machinery space that is still submerged. Guam Shipyard has purchased five new pumps today in a determined effort to increase their ability to remove more water from the drydock. The Coast Guard and Guam Shipyard continue to work closely on recovery efforts ensuring safety for all involved remains the number one priority.

The Pacific Strike Team, a Coast Guard group of highly trained members who specialize in incident management and rapid response to these types of events, continues to assist Coast Guard Sector Guam and Guam Shipyard with the safe removal of the remaining oily water and waste products. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 (HSC-25) was also on scene today to take aerial photos of Big Blue and the surrounding area. No signs of oil in the water or hazards to navigation have been reported at this time.

Source: USCG

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