UPDATE: COAST GUARD TRANSFERS SPIRIT OF SACRAMENTO TO EPA FOLLOWING PETROLEUM PRODUCT REMOVAL OPERATIONS

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Army Corps of Engineers and other partner agencies completed the removal of the petroleum products aboard the Spirit of Sacramento Wednesday.

Following a righting and dewatering operation Sept. 28, the Spirit of Sacramento arrived at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito Friday afternoon. Global Diving and Salvage, Inc., conducted petroleum product removal operations throughout the weekend and removed approximately 130 gallons of oily water mixture.

The Coast Guard has transferred the Spirit of Sacramento to the Environmental Protection Agency, which plans to remove hazardous material from the vessel at a later date. The Coast Guard plans to work with the EPA in the case that residual lube oils and other petroleum pollutants are discovered during the EPA’s hazardous materials abatement process.

The total amount of money expended by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to pay for the righting, dewatering and petroleum pollution removal of Spirit of Sacramento is approximately $1.6 million. This fund is set aside to aid in oil removal activities and damage assessment costs incurred by the Coast Guard. The largest source of revenue for the fund is a per-barrel excise tax, collected from the oil industry on petroleum produced in, or imported to the United States. Another source is cost recoveries and penalties from responsible parties; those responsible for oil incidents are liable for costs and damages.

The National Pollution Funds Center serves as the fiduciary for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and will handle all cost recovery efforts from the responsible party.

Media inquiries about the Spirit of Sacramento for the Coast Guard should be directed to 510-772-8865 and inquiries for the Environmental Protection Agency should be directed to 415-972-3165.

11th Coast Guard District
Contact: District 11 Public Affairs
Email: d11.smb.d11pa@uscg.mil
Office: (510) 437-3808

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UPDATE: COAST GUARD, PARTNER AGENCIES TO CONDUCT POLLUTION REMOVAL OPERATIONS ON THE SPIRIT OF SACRAMENTO

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Army Corps of Engineers and other partner agencies are preparing Friday to remove pollution from a vessel that capsized near Bethel Island Sept. 4.

Following a righting and dewatering operation Wednesday, the Spirit of Sacramento arrived at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday. Global Diving and Salvage, Inc. personnel are scheduled to maintain a 24-hour watch aboard the vessel throughout the weekend.

Petroleum product removal operations are expected to commence Saturday morning and continue throughout the day.

The Coast Guard is scheduled to formally transfer the Spirit of Sacramento to the Environmental Protection Agency Monday, which will then remove hazardous material from the vessel at a later date.

Images of Spirit of Sacramento operations can be viewed at www.dvidshub.net or at https://www.facebook.com/USCoastGuardPacificSouthwest.

MULTIMEDIA RELEASE: COAST GUARD, PARTNER AGENCIES BEGIN POLLUTION REMOVAL OPERATIONS FOR CAPSIZED VESSEL NEAR BETHEL ISLAND

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Army Corps of Engineers, and other partner agencies began pollution removal operations Wednesday for a capsized vessel near Bethel Island. The crane arrived at approximately 3 p.m. and subsequently began operations to right and dewater the Spirit of Sacramento. Operations are estimated to last 24 hours.   Once the Spirit of Sacramento has been dewatered, it is scheduled to be towed to the Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito where oil and fuel are scheduled to be removed. Containment boom was placed in the water surrounding the vessel so that in the event of oil or fuel entering the water during operations, it could be contained and retrieved by crews standing by with skimming equipment. Boom was also placed in predetermined locations to protect wildlife and sensitive areas. The waterway surrounding the Spirit of Sacramento was closed Wednesday morning and is scheduled to reopen once operations have concluded. For more information on the public notice establishing the waterway closure, click here.

View photos.

11th Coast Guard District
Contact: District 11 Public Affairs
Email: d11.smb.d11pa@uscg.mil
Office: (510) 437-3808

UPDATE: COAST GUARD, PARTNER AGENCIES PREPARE FOR POLLUTION REMOVAL OF CAPSIZED VESSEL NEAR BETHEL ISLAND

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Army Corps of Engineers, and other partner agencies are preparing Tuesday to remove a capsized vessel near Bethel Island.

The operations for the Spirit of Sacramento are scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon with an approximate duration of 24 hours. The salvage operation would involve rotating the vessel via a crane mounted atop a barge and raising the vessel for dewatering.

Once the Spirit of Sacramento has been dewatered, it is scheduled to be towed to the Army Corps of Engineers facility in Sausalito where oil and fuel are scheduled to be removed.

Before operations begin, approximately 3,000 feet of oil containment boom is to be placed in the water surrounding the vessel so that in the event of oil or fuel entering the water during operations, it could be contained and retrieved by crews standing by with skimming equipment. Boom will also be placed in predetermined areas to protect wildlife and sensitive areas.

The waterway surrounding the Spirit of Sacramento is scheduled to be closed beginning Wednesday morning and end once operations have concluded. For more information on the public notice establishing the waterway closure, click here.

Editor’s note: A boat will be available for media interested in getting underway to observe the operation. Media interested should contact Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Stanton at 510-772-8865, as space is limited to two spots. Media should arrive at Sugar Barge RV Resort and Marina at 1440 Sugar Barge Rd, Bethel Island, CA 94511 by 2 p.m. A spokesperson from the Coast Guard will be available for interviews. If there are more media than spots available, media representatives on scene will be asked to form a media pool. The Department of Fish and Wildlife requests that media use the prescribed staging area at Sugar Barge RV Resort and Marina and refrain from driving on any levees to mitigate impacts to endangered species.

11th Coast Guard District
Contact: District 11 Public Affairs
Email: d11.smb.d11pa@uscg.mil
Office: (510) 437-3808

UPDATE: COAST GUARD AND PARTNER AGENCIES CONTINUE STABILIZATION, PLANNING FOR CAPSIZED VESSEL NEAR BETHEL ISLAND

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and other partner agencies are moving forward Wednesday with efforts to prepare the Spirit of Sacramento for fuel removal operations.

Several scenarios are being developed to safely remove the pollution threat, which include righting the vessel and removing the fuel, or removing the fuel while the boat remains in its current position.

“Because this situation is so unique, the strong partnership between the Coast Guard and state and local agencies has been absolutely critical,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rhianna Macon, the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco incident management chief and incident commander for the Spirit of Sacramento case. “The effort to leverage each agency’s jurisdictional authorities to protect the public, environment and wildlife has been extensive. Our primary focus is to ensure we’re doing this safely.” Continue reading

UPDATE: COAST GUARD AND PARTNER AGENCIES CONTINUE STABILIZATION, PLANNING FOR CAPSIZED VESSEL NEAR BETHEL ISLAND

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and other partner agencies will proceed with their plans to manage the potential pollution threat posed by the capsized vessel Spirit of Sacramento Friday.

The vessel owner had until noon Friday to submit a plan for removing fuel from the vessel but did not do so.

The Coast Guard and partners will continue with their two-phase approach to safely remove the fuel, which is expected to take several weeks.

The Coast Guard’s boating public notice, which requires that mariners remain at least 75-feet away from the capsized vessel, remains in effect. For more information on the public notice, click here.

As a precautionary measure, Contra Costa County Sheriff personnel have placed three buoys around the Spirit of Sacramento in an effort to alert mariners transiting the area of the ship’s location. Mariners are requested to exercise caution and reduce speeds when transiting in the vicinity of the capsized vessel.

The Coast Guard remains in close partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and other state and local partners to coordinate the response in order to most effectively leverage each agency’s jurisdictional authorities to protect the public, environment and wildlife.

Further updates on the project will be issued when major decisions are made, project milestones are reached, or significant activity occurs at the site.

Additional facts related to scope and funding for the incident include:

  • The Coast Guard response and authority is specifically concerned with the pollution threat from the vessel.
  • The Coast Guard is authorized to take response measures deemed necessary to protect the public health and welfare of the environment from pollution, but it no longer has authority once a pollution threat has been mitigated.
  • As authorized by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund may be used for the cost of pollution removal and other costs directly related to the removal of pollution, such as state access for removal activities, payments to trustees to conduct natural resource damage assessments and restorations and payments of claims for pollution removal costs and damages.  The OSLTF is a federal fund comprised primarily of per-barrel taxes from the oil industry.

For more information and additional press releases, visit the Office of Spill Prevention and Response Cal Spill Watch webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/OSPR/CalSpillWatch.

11th Coast Guard District
Contact: District 11 Public Affairs
Email: d11.smb.d11pa@uscg.mil
Office: (510) 437-3808

UPDATE: COAST GUARD AND PARTNER AGENCIES CONTINUE STABILIZATION, PLANNING FOR CAPSIZED VESSEL NEAR BETHEL ISLAND

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and other partner agencies continued planning and preparations Thursday for stabilizing and the eventual removal of fuel from the capsized Spirit of Sacramento near Bethel Island.

A survey of the area was conducted to identify environmentally sensitive areas and locate staging areas that will be needed for removal operations and for any pollution response efforts in the event oil is released from the vessel during removal operations.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port for the area issued an order Thursday to the owner of the vessel, Samuel Rowles, requiring him to develop a pollution removal plan by noon Friday. If that plan is approved, the owner will be permitted to conduct the pollution removal operation.

If Rowles does not have an approved plan, the Coast Guard and partner agencies will proceed with a two-phase plan already developed in coordination with Global Diving and Salvage, Inc., to first prepare the vessel for a safe recovery to the surface, then to conduct pollution removal operations. The Federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a pollution response fund composed primarily of a per-barrel tax on the oil industry, will provide funding for the immediate response, and future efforts will be made to recoup costs of the response from the owner.

Thursday’s environmental assessment was conducted by the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response to develop environmental protection plans for the fuel removal phase of the response.  Teams conducted surveys of the surrounding water and shoreline to identify any sensitive sites in the vicinity of the Spirit of Sacramento that would require protection from a pollution threat.

Thes survey teams observed no pollution concerns, but environmental protection strategies have been developed for any sensitive sites and will be implemented in the event of a spill during the fuel removal phase. The oil containment boom remains around the vessel.

The Coast Guard’s Pacific Strike Team will also be integrated into planning operations Friday. The Strike Team is a resource available to assist the on-scene coordinator during actual or potential pollution incidents, and will provide safety expertise throughout the response to the Spirit of Sacramento.

The Coast Guard remains in close coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and other state and local partners to coordinate the response.

Throughout the first phase of this operation, we appreciate the continued cooperation and assistance of local boaters and residents, as planning and oversight operations are ongoing.

The Coast Guard issued a boating public notice, which requires that mariners remain at least 75 feet away from the vessel. For more information on the public notice, click here.

11th Coast Guard District
Contact: District 11 Public Affairs
Email: d11.smb.d11pa@uscg.mil
Office: (510) 437-3808