Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 13

Date: 9.24.19

Contact: Joint Information Center (912) 944-7122

The St. Simons Sound Incident Unified Command (UC), made up of the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Gallagher Marine Systems, continues to target and mitigate shoreline pollution and refine the plan for removing pollutants from the ship. More than 340 responders are attached to the UC and nearly 60 vessels are engaged in the response.


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION


Response teams continue environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas. Additional oiled vegetation was identified on the west bank of the Back River and 10 rolls of absorbent boom were deployed to prevent further impact in the area. To date, over 5,400 feet of boom has been deployed and 24,400 feet of boom is strategically staged for use as needed. The command is working with local stakeholder groups to track and investigate oil sighting reports. The public is reminded to avoid touching oil, report any sightings of oil to (800) 424-8802 and report any oiled wildlife to (800) 261-0980. 


VESSEL OPERATIONS


Response crews continue removing oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room. A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is being used to ventilate the ship and ensure safe working conditions. Crews are making preliminary plans to start removing oil from the tanks on board the ship. A plan to begin hot tapping, an industry-standard method to safely pump fuel from the vessel, is being finalized. 


PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY


Specialists are actively monitoring air and water quality around the vessel, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island. Members of the public are encouraged to monitor the Georgia Department of Public Health website for additional information. 


ECONOMIC


Commercial traffic in the Port of Brunswick continues to move on a case by case basis. A claims number has been established for those affected by the incident (888) 850-8486.