Unified Command Continues St. Simons Sound Incident Response: Update 14

Date: 9.25.19 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 70 vessels are engaged in the response.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Response teams continue environmental surveys in oil-impacted areas including the west bank of the Back River. Protective booming strategies have been utilized at environmentally sensitive marsh habitats that adjoin St. Simons Sound to neighboring water bodies. The command continues to work 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 the oily water mixture from the vessel’s engine room, and to date, 4,900 gallons of oil have been removed. Lightering operations, a method to safely remove fuel from the vessel’s tanks, have commenced. 

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.