Division of Spill Prevention and Response

Breadcrumbs

Status Updates
Additional information is available in the Situation Reports for this incident.

RESPONSE ACTION:

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) removed a 4-foot by 4-foot section of the hull to access the eight service tanks which, according the ship’s plans, held a variety of petroleum products.  The space had previously been hot-tapped, and a significant quantity of mix petroleum products and oily water was removed from the space.  The access route was blocked by a tank not shown on the ship’s plans.  Divers drilled into the tank and determined it did not contain any oil.  Debris and piping made access into the space to examine the eight tanks shown on the plans impossible.  The visual inspection completed by the diver and the Remotely Operated Vehicle  indicated the space did not contain any large quantity of free-floating oil.  The Unified Command, based on the information collected, decided not to continue efforts to access the eight service tanks.  It is assumed, based on the amount of oil removed from the overhead (ceiling) in the compartment, that the service tanks have failed and discharged their contents into the interior of the ship. 
  • The 4-foot by 4-foot hull section is being re-attached to the vessel today using welded patches and underwater epoxy.  Global divers will continue work today to return the vessel to as near the pre-response condition as possible.
  • Landing plates with the attached flanges used during the hot-tapping procedures are being spot-welded closed and left on the vessel’s hull. 
  • All large openings created during the response will be closed to prevent access to interior spaces on the vessel.  Temporary patches placed over the port holes have been removed.
  • Crews removed the response equipment container in Amalga Harbor and the pre-positioned containment boom in Tee Harbor.
  • Today, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) responders will recover the containment boom deployed to the north and south of dive operations. 
  • The boom directly around the dive platform will be maintained as long as vessels are onsite.
  • The safety zone onsite remains in effect until the mooring system is removed. Vessels transiting the area should refer to marine channel 16 for Notices to Mariners.
  • Global has completed all feasible fuel transfer operations from the Princess Kathleen, and the majority of all bunker and other oils have been safely removed from the vessel.  Small quantities of petroleum remain trapped within the vessel and will continue to be released over time.  However, the response has removed a significant threat to the shores and waters of Lynn Canal and insures that the Princess Kathleen will not be the source of a catastrophic release in the future.
  • The volumes reported include a percentage of water; the actual volume of fuel recovered will not be known until the product is measured at the disposal and recycling center.  Approximately 118,800 gallons of bunker oil was recovered from the fuel tanks.  An additional 25,500 gallons of other petroleum products, bunker oil and oily water have been collected from overhead spaces and after engine room spaces onboard the vessel.  The total recovered volume is approximately 144,300 gallons.  

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Decontamination will begin on vessels and equipment this weekend. 
  • Vessels will move to the Southeast Lighterage docks in Auke Bay, where they will be boomed and cleaned with high pressure water and powered scrubbers. 
  • The oiled response equipment will either be decontaminated locally by SEAPRO responders or shipped to Seattle for decontamination. 
  • Equipment to be decontaminated locally will be placed within secondary containment prior to decontamination.  Contaminated water will be treated and disposed of in accordance with State and federal regulations.
  • Once equipment has been decontaminated or properly contained for shipment, it will be returned to its home port.

May 25, 2010

RESPONSE ACTION:

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) completed pumping operations to remove bunker fuel from the 14 tanks onboard the Princess Kathleen
  • Approximately 118,800 gallons of bunker oil was recovered from the fuel tanks. The volume reported includes a percentage of water; the actual volume of fuel recovered will not be known until the product is measured at the disposal and recycling center.
  • Global divers returned to the overhead spaces with handheld suction wands to recover any remaining trapped product. 
  • To date approximately 25,400 gallons of other petroleum products, bunker oil and oily water have been collected from overhead spaces and after engine room spaces onboard the vessel.
  • The divers re-opened fuel tank vent pipes to collect trapped product; vents were then re-plugged and wired shut. 
  • Overhead spaces will be inspected to determine whether they meet Unified Command satisfaction before the spaces are considered “clean”. 
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.  The Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) is adjusting the boom as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any visible sheen. 

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Historic ship plans document eight service tanks holding petroleum products like turbine oil, lamp oil and lube oil in addition to the 14 bunker oil tanks.  To access the service fuel tanks, Global will remove a 4-foot by 4-foot section of the hull giving direct entry into the after engine spaces. Petroleum product has been pumped from the space, suggesting tank failure, but by opening the space for visual inspection the divers can confirm the condition of the tanks and collect additional product.  The hull will be repaired after operations are completed.

May 21, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) continued fuel pumping operations on the port wing tanks.  Global has successfully completed fuel removal from 12 of the 14 fuel tanks, and work continues today on the thirteenth tank.  The total volume of oil recovered to date is approximately 86,000 gallons. The volume reported includes a percentage of water; the actual volume of fuel recovered will not be known until the product is measured at the disposal and recycling center.
  • The Princess Kathleen carried other petroleum products in addition to bunker oil. Estimates based on ship plans suggest a capacity of approximately 2,500gallons of other petroleum material.
  • On May 18, 2010, Global drilled exploratory holes into the upper corner of the fan room (a space in between the starboard wing tanks), the engine room, and the after-engine space to determine if they contained trapped bunker oil or other petroleum products.   A variety of petroleum products were found in all of the locations.  Additional petroleum products were found when the after-boiler room space was drilled on May 19.  Global has removed an estimated 35,584 gallons of oil and contaminated water from these spaces. A large percentage of the liquid is water; the exact volume of petroleum product recovered will be measured at the completion of the project.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.  The Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) is adjusting the boom as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any visible sheen. 

Future Plans

  • Fuel pumping operations will continue on the port wing tanks.  Global plans to penetrate the after-engine space to access eight service fuel tanks.  Historic ship plans document these service tanks to hold petroleum products like turbine oil, lamp oil and lube oil.

May 18, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) continued fuel pumping operations.  On May 17, 2010 Global completed fuel removal operations on the final bottom tank.
  • Operations shifted to the four port wing tanks on May 17. Because the wreck is lying on its port side, recovering fuel from these tanks is operationally different from the previous 10 tanks. Rather than access the tanks through the hull Global is traveling through the interior spaces of the vessel and accessing the tanks through the tank tops. Approximately 10,700 gallons of oil was removed from the number 4 port wing tank. Divers are continuing to circulate warm water through the tank today and recover fuel.
  • Global has successfully completed fuel removal from 10 of the 14 fuel tanks, and work continues today on the eleventh tank.  The total volume of oil recovered to date is approximately 66,600 gallons. The volume reported includes a percentage of water; the actual volume of fuel recovered will not be known until the product is measured at the disposal and recycling center.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.  SEAPRO is adjusting the boom as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any visible sheen. 

Future Plans

  • Fuel pumping operations will continue, moving from one fuel tank to the next.
  • In addition to the bunker fuel, the Princess Kathleen carried an unknown quantity of other petroleum products.  Historic ship plans document tanks of petroleum like turbine oil, lamp oil and lube oil in the engine room. Global will drill holes through the hull into the upper spaces of the engine room and aft engine room spaces to determine if there is trapped petroleum.  Any trapped oil will be pumped from the space. If the tanks do not appear to have leaked the divers will access the space and assess the ability to remove the fuel directly from the tanks.

May 17, 2010

RESPONSE ACTION:

  • Global has successfully removed recoverable oil from 10 of the 14 fuel tanks, and work continues today on the eleventh tank. The total volume of oil recovered to date is approximately 66,600 gallons. The volume reported includes a percentage of water; the actual volume of fuel recovered will not be known until the product is measured at the disposal and recycling center.
  • On May 17, 2010 Global completed fuel removal operations on the final bottom tank.
  • Approximately 10,700 gallons of oil was removed from the number 4 port wing tank. Divers are continuing to circulate warm water through the tank today and recover fuel. Because the wreck is lying on its port side, recovering fuel from these tanks is operationally different from the previous 10 tanks. Rather than access the tanks through the hull Global is traveling through the interior spaces of the vessel and accessing the tanks through the tank tops.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen. SEAPRO is adjusting the boom as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any visible sheen.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Fuel pumping operations will continue, moving from one fuel tank to the next.
  • In addition to the bunker fuel, the Princess Kathleen carried an unknown quantity of other petroleum products. Historic ship plans document tanks of petroleum like turbine oil, lamp oil and lube oil in the engine room. Global will drill holes through the hull into the upper spaces of the engine room and aft engine room spaces to determine if there is trapped petroleum. Any trapped oil will be pumped from the space. If the tanks do not appear to have leaked, then the divers will access the space and assess the ability to remove the fuel directly from the tanks.

May 11, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) continued fuel pumping operations.  Global completed fuel removal operations in the number 1 starboard bottom tank and the number 1 port bottom tank.  Recovery operations on the number 2 port bottom tank are expected to be completed today. The number 2 starboard bottom tank will be ready to accept pumping equipment this afternoon.
  • Global has successfully removed recoverable oil from 5 of the 14 fuel tanks, work continues today on the sixth tank.  The total volume of oil recovered to date is approximately 35,609 gallons.
  • Global continues preparations for hot tapping on the port wing tanks. Landing plates have been installed on the number 1 and 2 port wing tanks.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.   Boom is being adjusted as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any sheen created. 

May 7, 2010

Actions

  • In response to elevated hydrogen sulfide levels last weekend, the compound Petro Sweet was delivered to the operations platform on May 4, 2010.  Petro Sweet is a chemical compound used to neutralize hydrogen sulfide.  Chemical technicians installed an injection system to mix the compound in the line that recovers fuel before it reaches the collection tank. The compound was also added to recovered fuel already in the collection tank and the tank barge.  Crews continue a strict air monitoring program on site to ensure the safety of work crews.
  • Once Petro Sweet treatment commenced, Global Diving and Salvage (Global) resumed normal fuel pumping operations on the number 3 starboard wing tank.  They completed fuel removal operations in the number 3 tank, collecting over 2,600 gallons of oil.
  • Global has successfully removed recoverable oil from three of the 14 fuel tanks on board the vessel.  The total volume of oil recovered to date is approximately 22,270 gallons.
  • Global cleared asphalt and silt to gain access to the number 1 and 2 port wing tanks and have found the manhole covers on the top of the tanks. Work continues to clear silt and asphalt from the number 3 and 4 port wing tanks. Landing plates have been installed on the number 1 port wing tank.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.   Boom is being adjusted as needed to ensure maximum containment and recovery of any sheen created.

May 5, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) completed fuel removal operations in the number 2 starboard wing tank. The total current volume of oil recovered from the tanks onboard the Princess Kathleen is approximately 16,300 gallons.
  • Hydrogen sulfide levels in the number 3 starboard wing tank have temporarily halted fuel removal operations. The flammable chemical needs to be neutralized prior to pumping the fuel into the barge onsite. The compound Petro Sweet will be added to the fuel to neutralize the hydrogen sulfide. Crews are implementing a strict air monitoring program on site to ensure the safety of work crews. Three crew members were taken to the hospital on Saturday as a precautionary measure after exposure to the hydrogen sulfide.  All three were released from the hospital on the same day. 
  • Pumping operations are expected to commence on the number 3 wing tank Thursday.
  • Meanwhile divers are removing silt to access to the port wing tanks.  The four port wing tanks are the only fuel tanks on the Princess Kathleen not yet surveyed for fuel oil.  After the silt is removed divers will install landing plates for the pumping process and determine the fuel level within the tanks.
  • Active booming operations are ongoing to contain the sheen produced by the Princess Kathleen.

 


April 30, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) completed fuel pumping operations on the number 1 starboard wing tank.  Operations have now shifted to pumping from the number 2 starboard wing tank.  Approximately 6,554 gallons of oil was recovered from the number 1 tank and 6,960 gallons have been recovered from the number 2 tank. The overall total of oil recovered is approximately 13,515 gallons. The current amount of fuel recovered is larger than earlier estimates had predicted.
  • To minimize the sheen produced by fuel pumping operations, active booming and clean-up operations are ongoing.
  • Shoreline cleanup assessment teams (SCAT) are conducting surveys to monitor impacts to sensitive areas.  A few small quarter-size patches of oil have been found on shorelines near the fuel pumping operations.  The oil is tar-like and very weathered, which suggest that it has been on the shore for a number of months or longer.  SCAT will be continually monitoring the shoreline to determine if any additional impacts are occurring. 

Future Plans

  • Fuel pumping operations will continue, moving from one fuel tank to the next.

April 27, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) determined the oil recovered from the overheads of the Princess Kathleen was approximately 840 gallons. This oil is being stored in the Foss Maritime (Foss) tank barge and will be recycled or disposed of at the completion of operations.
  • On April 25, 2010, Global cut off and patched the piping associated with the number 1 starboard wing tank. The cutting and patching was done in preparation of fuel pumping operations.
  • Global finished preparing the barge Red Cedar asan operations platform for pumping fuel. A large collection tank on the barge was filled with water and heated.  A viscous oil pump is connected to the Princess Kathleen number 1 starboard wing tank and suction is applied.  Oil is pumped up to the collection tank where oil collection equipment separates the oil from the water and transfers the oil to the tank barge for storage. Heated water from the collection tank is gravity fed into the fuel tank.  The heated water flows through the tank, heating the oil and water.  Heating of the oil and water reduces the viscosity of the bunker oil making it flow toward the suction port and making the oil easier to pump.  The water in the collection tank is continuously heated and recycled to the fuel tank on the ship in a closed loop.  The cycle will continue until U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation personnel determine no additional recoverable fuel remains in the fuel tank.
  • At 8:40 PM on April 26, fuel pumping operations on the number 1 starboard wing tank were started with an immediate recovery of oil. 
  • The Princess Kathleen releases small amounts of oil on a periodic basis, which is what drew the Unified Command’s attention to the vessel for this operation.  These drops of oil float through the water column and surface as small tarballs or light sheen.  Additional booming strategies have been planned and implemented in preparation for the fuel pumping operations.  Booms were deployed closer to the operations platform to address intermittent sheens in the area and will provide additional protection in the unlikely event of a large release.  However, the operations platform cannot be completely encircled with boom because of safety concerns. In addition, weekly shore patrols and twice weekly overflights are conducted to continually monitor any sheening and the environmental conditions.

April 23, 2010

Actions

  • While Global Diving and Salvage (Global) was installing hot tapping equipment on the starboard wing tanks, they discovered an additional layer of heavy oil in the number 2 and 4 starboard wing tanks. It is suggested that over time the oil has separated allowing the lighter ends of the oil to float to the top and the heavier ends to settle towards the bottom of the tank. Samples of the oil were taken and sent to the lab at Louisiana State University for analysis. 
  • On April 20, 2010, after removing heavy concentrations of pooled oil from the spaces and exposing the piping, Global conducted surveys of the fuel tank vent piping system to determine the layout and condition of the piping in preparation for permanently patching them.   The patching procedure will be the removal of the vent pipes at the fuel tank and installing plugs in the openings to prevent oil from escaping the tanks during the fuel removal operation.  This specialized cutting equipment, discussed in Sitrep 14, arrived on scene on April 22nd and operations to patch the vent piping commenced today.
  • In preparation for removal of silt from the top of the port wing tanks, Global entered the main deck cargo space and removed items that posed an entanglement hazard to divers.   Silt removal began on April 22nd but operations were hampered by the large amount of debris located in this area of the vessel.  All silt that is removed is being pumped to a tank on the Foss Maritime Company (Foss) barge and will be disposed of at the completion of the project. 
  • Shoreline cleanup assessment teams conducted surveys of the shorelines near the wreck site for oil on April 21st and 22nd. The teams surveyed the shoreline from Point Lena to Tee Harbor and found no oil. The surveys have been documented and will be used a as baseline for future shoreline monitoring.
  • Operations at the dive site were put on hold this morning as the winds and waves exceeded the safety margins established by the Unified Command.

Future Plans

  • Foss, Global, and Southeast Alaska Lightering continue to move equipment to the deck barge Red Cedar for the second phase of fuel recovery. 
  • The necessary tools for cutting and patching the fuel tank vent piping system have arrived in Juneau and operations to permanently patch the leaking vent pipes will continue as soon as possible.  Heating and pumping of the tanks to remove oil from the vessel cannot start until the leaking tank piping is patched.
  • Additional dive crew members for Global have been mobilized to support the upcoming 24 hour operations and are expected to arrive in Juneau over the weekend.

April 20, 2010

Actions

  • Global Diving and Salvage (Global) began removing oil trapped within the structure of the vessel on Saturday, April 17. 
  • Removing the trapped oil exposed leaking and badly corroded tank piping. On April 18, Global began patching and plugging the identified leaks.  Global ordered specialized pipe cutting equipment from their Seattle office to facilitate more permanent patches.  The equipment is expected to arrive in Juneau today.
  • Global has begun installing hot tapping equipment in the starboard wing tanks.  Hot tapping operations to remove oil from the fuel tanks cannot commence until the leaks in the tank piping are patched. This is to minimize any potential spill that may result from oil, heated for removal, traveling through the tank piping at an increased discharge rate. 
  • On Sunday, April 18, the Unified Command received a report of sheen extending from the wreck site north to Haines. The report was investigated by the crew on site on Sunday and by trained aerial observers on a helicopter over flight on Monday, April 19.  Rainbow sheen was observed only in the immediate vicinity of the wreck on both days. The helicopter traveled north as far as Benjamin Island and did not observe any additional sheen.  Patchy water conditions created by wind and current patterns in Lynn Canal may have been mistaken as sheen.  The Unified Command will conduct two over flights a week to continue monitoring for sheen and oil discharges.
  • The oil spill response cooperative, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO), has deployed two sections of hard boom to the north and northeast of the wreck site, and a section of absorbent boom and adsorbent snare directly off Point Lena (for descriptions of the spill response equipment, view the Oil Cleanup Methods document in the Technical Information section of this website).
  • SEAPRO will continue to monitor and maintain boom around the wreck. The entire wreck area was not encircled with boom due to safety concerns.
  • A 48-foot SEAPRO oil spill response vessel (OSRV) will be on site for all fuel recovery operations in case of a large release. A second 48-foot SEAPRO OSRV is on standby in Auke Bay.

Future Plans

  • Foss Maritime Company (Foss), Global, and Southeast Alaska Lightering (SEAL) have begun moving equipment to the deck barge Red Cedar for the second phase of fuel recovery.  A boiler onboard the Red Cedar willheat water to circulate through the fuel tanks.  This will heat the bunker oil in the fuel tanks, making it easier to pump the oil to a tank onboard the deck barge. Oil collection equipment will separate the bunker oil from the water within the tank before the oil is transferred to the Foss barge.
  • Equipment necessary to remove grease and silt on the cargo deck that is restricting access to the port wing tanks has been ordered. Removing the material will allow access to the upper section of the four port wing tanks.  Once accessible, divers will estimate the volume of fuel in the four tanks and install the equipment necessary for fuel removal.

April 16, 2010

  • The Unified Command has decided to remove the bunker fuel oil from the Princess Kathleen based on the current volume estimates and the environmental risk this volume represents.  Because bunker oil is very viscous at low temperatures, the response contractor Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) will use a method called hot-tapping to remove fuel from the Princess Kathleen.  A hot-water heat exchanger will be temporarily inserted into each tanks through an opening cut in the tank.  The bunker oil is then heated directly around a suction hose installed in a second opening cut into the tank.  The heated oil will be pumped from the tank and recirculated to the tank to heat all of the oil within.  Once the oil is sufficiently warmed, it will be pumped into a barge moored above.
  • The Princess Kathleen has a total of 14 bunker oil tanks; six bottom tanks and eight wing tanks (see diagram).  Global completed assessing the volume of fuel contained within the six bottom tanks and four starboard wing tanks on March 29, 2010; the assessment provided an estimate of 14,000 – 34,000 gallons of bunker oil in the starboard wing tanks and bottom tanks.  Assessment of the four port wing tanks had been delayed because the vessel is lying on its port side preventing access to the tanks through the hull.  On March 31, Global identified an access route to the top of all four port wing tanks from within the vessel.  Concerns of dislodging oil trapped within the vessel prevented further work on the port wing tanks until temporary patches could be installed over the starboard portholes, which Global completed on April 2.
  • During diving operations, a Global diver working in the area of the port wing tanks encountered a greaselike substance that coated the diver’s equipment.  The source of the “grease” has not yet been identified; a sample was collected and sent for analysis.  Divers will not work in the area of the port wing tanks until the analysis is completed and the substance is identified as not hazardous to the divers.
  • The Unified Command has been working closely with the State and federal resource agencies throughout this incident to identify environmentally sensitive areas.  With the decision to remove the ship’s fuel, the Unified Command directed the Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) to maintain pre-positioned boom near sensitive areas as a precaution in the unlikely event of a release.  SEAPRO has been maintaining containment boom lined with adsorbent snare deployed to the north of the Princess Kathleen since the dive assessment began.  Additional containment boom likely will be deployed around the barge during the hot-tapping operation.  The SEAPRO oil spill response vessel Rudyerd Bay and crew arrived in Auke Bay on April 11; the Rudyerd Bay and its sister ship, the Neka Bay, will remain in Auke Bay or at Point Lena during the fuel removal operations.
  • The Unified Command held an open house on April 1 to meet with the interested public to discuss the results of the dive assessments and future plans.  Over 40 people attended the event at the Douglas Island Pink and Chum (DIPAC) center.

FUTURE PLANS

  • The Foss Maritime Company (Foss) moored its 248-foot tank barge just off Point Lena on April 15.  After the fourth anchor location is determined to be clear of submarine cables, the anchors and remaining elements of the mooring system will be installed and the Foss tank barge moored on site.
  • The Unified Command has approved a plan to pump the “grease” found in the cargo deck from the Princess Kathleen into the Foss tank barge.  Once the grease is removed divers will be able to continue work to access the port wing tanks and determine the quantity of fuel in each of the four tanks. 
  • In addition, Global has estimated that between 1,500 and 3,000 gallons of oil has leaked from the fuel tanks and is trapped within the structure of the vessel.  Global divers installed temporary patches over exposed portholes to prevent any of this oil from escaping, and the divers will use suction wands to remove the trapped oil before detaching the patches and restoring the Princess Kathleen to its pre-assessment state.  The “vacuuming” of oil from inside the structure of the vessel will begin once the Foss tank barge is moored on-site.
  • Once the “grease” and free oil within the vessel structure are removed, operations will shift to removing the larger quantities of oil from the vessel’s tanks.  Fuel recovery operations are expected to begin by Saturday, April 17.  One of the SEAPRO oil spill response vessels will be on standby at Point Lena during fuel recovery operations in case of a large release; the second SEAPRO oil spill response vessel will remain in Auke Bay on standby.
  • An additional, smaller deck barge will be moored on-site to support these operations.  Workers form Global and Southeast Alaska Lightering will move equipment to the deck barge for the fuel recovery operations.  The deck barge will carry the boiler used to heat the oil to facilitate pumping, as well as the other equipment necessary for the hot-tapping operations. 
  • Equipment necessary to remove silt covering the Princess Kathleen that is restricting access to the port wing tanks has been ordered.  Once accessible, divers will estimate the volume of fuel remaining in those tanks and then install the equipment needed for fuel removal.

March 13, 2010

  • Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) continues the installation of landing plates on the bottom tanks today, April 13, 2010. The landing plates will accept equipment and hoses used during the lightering process. 
  • The survey of submarine cables near Point Lena was delayed because of high winds and a failure of the survey equipment. The contractor was able to repair the equipment and completed surveys of the SW and NW mooring positions on April 12.
  • Weather permitting, the contractor will mobilize to survey the submarine cable near the NE corner mooring site today. Foss Maritime Company (Foss) and Southeast Alaska Lightering (SEAL) will deploy the SW and NW anchor systems today. Once the survey is complete Foss will deploy the final anchor. The SE anchor was already set on April 9.
  • The Unified Command has approved a plan to pump the grease found in the cargo deck from the Princess Kathleen into the Foss tank barge. Once the grease is removed divers will be able to continue work to access the port wing tanks and determine the quantity of fuel in each of the four tanks.
  • The Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) oil spill response vessel Rudyerd Bay and crew arrived in Auke Bay on April 11. The Rudyerd Bay and its sister ship, the Neka Bay, will remain in Auke Bay or at Point Lena during the fuel removal operations.

FUTURE PLANS

  • After the fourth anchor location is determined to be clear of submarine cables, the anchor and remaining elements of the mooring system will be installed and the Foss tank barge moored on site. 
  • With the barge moored on site, Global will begin “vacuuming” oil from inside the structure of the vessel.  Global has estimated there is between 1,500 and 3,000 gallons of oil trapped in the structure of the vessel that has leaked from the fuel tanks.
  • Once the free oil within the structure is removed, operations will shift to remove oil from the vessel’s tanks. For these operations a second, smaller barge will be onsite to support the boiler used to heat the oil to facilitate pumping and other equipment necessary for the hot taping operations.

 


March 19, 2010

  • The Princess Kathleen has two types of fuel tanks, wing tanks and bottom tanks. Wing tanks are tanks that sit along the side of the hull. A bottom fuel tank is fuel storage between the hull of the ship and a second inner barrier placed somewhat higher in the vessel.
  • On Monday, March 18, 2010, Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. (Global) began checking for fuel in the starboard wing tanks.  Holes are drilled at various levels to determine the water-oil interface within the tanks.  Global is using drills that make threaded holes, which are immediately sealed with bolts and neoprene washers after the presence or absence of fuel is noted.  Fuel was found within all four of the starboard wing tanks.  Engineers are still determining the volume based on the level of fuel found in each tank.
  • Global has completed the ultrasound assessment of the hull along the starboard wing tanks.  The outer hull plating near the wing tanks is reported to be in good condition but there is corrosion of the rivet heads holding the hull together.  Global is continuing ultrasound assessment work and will begin measuring the condition of the hull along the starboard bottom tank.  After the external hull has been assessed for corrosion, Global will measure the thickness of the internal walls of the starboard fuel tanks.  The steel plating used for the interior walls of the wing tanks is generally thinner than the hull plating and may be more susceptible to corrosion.
  • The port side wing and bottom tanks are inaccessible from the outside because of the way the Princess Kathleen is laying. Global has identified a route into the boiler room, but has not yet entered the room.  Divers have been in the engine room onboard the Princess Kathleen and report it is clear of debris and silt.  Though divers have access to both the boiler and engine room, for improved access and greater diver safety Global will cut two direct access holes through the hull into the two areas.  Global will remove 4-foot by 4-foot sections of the plating to gain access.  These sections of plating will be welded back in place upon the completion of the project.
  • The Unified Command traveled to Point Lena on March 18 as part of hosting a media availability day.  Three members of the Juneau press attended.
FUTURE PLANS: Divers will continue work to ultrasound the vessel hull and internal structures.  The dive crew continues to measure fuel levels in the fuel tanks that are immediately accessible.  Once complete, an engineering firm will use the information supplied by Global divers and historic ship plans to present the Unified Command with current fuel volume estimates.

March 18, 2010

  • On Monday, March 15, 2010, Global Offshore Divers began documenting hull and tank condition using ultrasound technology that can determine the hull and tank thickness to 1/1000th of an inch. Initial scans suggest the hull is still in good condition. Global Offshore Divers will use the thickness measurements to conduct operations in a manner consistent with protecting the structural integrity of the vessel.
  • The starboard side of the vessel is fully exposed allowing for easy access to both the starboard hull and starboard tanks. The port side is lying against the seabed and access to the port tanks will need to be achieved by traveling through the vessel. Divers identified a safe route into the boiler room, which should allow access to the port tanks.
  • Crews on the Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization (SEAPRO) spill response vessel Neka Bay deployed 500 feet of boom north of the Princess Kathleen on March 15. The boom is designed to contain oil in the unlikely event of a release during dive operations. Split between the Neka Bay and the SEAPRO oil response barge staged in Auke Bay are an additional 2,000 feet of boom and 15 anchor systems. Also, two response equipment containers holding 3,200 feet of boom and 52 anchors have been staged at Amalga Harbor.
  • During dive assessments on March 16, divers detected a small amount of free oil leaking from an overboard-discharge pipe on the starboard hull.
  • Global Offshore Divers is developing a dimensional graphic of the Princess Kathleen in her current state. The graphic will assist the company during the fuel volume estimation process. Images from the dimensional graphic are available for viewing using the links, above, on this webpage. The Unified Command will determine, based on the volume estimations, if they will pursue fuel removal.
  • For the safety of divers, no operations will occur if winds are greater than 20 knots or seas greater than 4 feet. Weather deterioration on March 16 forced divers to halt operations after two hours. Improved weather on March 17 allowed divers to resume underwater operations. Officials on-scene estimate the dive assessment phase will take approximately a week to complete, but the schedule is tentative and may change due to weather delays.
  • There have been no reports of recent impacts to wildlife or the shoreline. The Princess Kathleen is of historic significance and is listed as a historic shipwreck by the State of Alaska Office of History and Archeology.

Future Plans

Divers will continue work to determine the location of all the fuel tanks based on visual inspection and historic diagrams. The dive crew will then measure fuel volumes by drilling small holes to locate the level of fuel in each tank; the holes will be sealed immediately after drilling. Once complete, Global Offshore Divers will use the level of fuel within the tanks and the historic ship plans to present the Unified Command with current fuel volume estimates.


March 9, 2010

  • Due to an increase in the frequency of sheen reports, possibly indicating a recent change in the SS Princess Kathleen’s condition, the United States Coast Guard decided to assess the condition of the vessel.  The vessel currently sits at an angle on its port side at a depth ranging from 52 feet at the bow to 134 feet at the stern.
  • The USCG contracted with Southeast Alaska Lighterage and Global Offshore Divers to evaluate damage to the vessel through the use of two remotely operated vehicles (ROV).  The ROVs dove on the wreck on February 17, 18 and 19, 2010.  The ROVs discovered bunker oil trapped inside the superstructure of the vessel; during certain tides the bunker oil is able to escape through broken portholes.
  • On March 3, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) conducted assessments of the coast north of Lena Point to catalog all critical habitat areas and decide on locations for the pre-placement of spill response equipment containers.
  • On March 4, Southeast Alaska Lighterage began installing a four-point anchor system at Point Lena in preparation for upcoming dive operations. 
  • The Unified Command, comprised of the ADEC and the USCG, hosted an open house on March 4 at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.  Representatives from the ADEC, the USCG and Global Offshore Divers were on hand to discuss the history of the Princess Kathleen and the current plans for assessing vessel stability, remaining fuel on the vessel, and options for removal, if necessary.  ADFG and USFWS representatives answered questions relating to environmental resources in the area.  Approximately 120 citizens attended the event.
  • On March 5, the Unified Command signed an Incident Action Plan that will allow for the start of the next phase of operations, a thorough investigation by divers that will determine the volume of fuel remaining on the vessel and the integrity of the fuel tanks. 
  • Inclement weather has delayed the onset of the second phase of diving operations.