A 150′ towing vessel began taking on water when it struck a submerged object in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore of Cameron, Louisiana. The flooding began in the vessel’s engine room about 20 miles offshore; she was carrying approximately 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel oil. The vessel later sank in about 40 feet of water with about 2 feet of the vessel remaining visible.
Resolve Towing and Salvage (Resolve) was contacted by the tug owners to take initial salvage response actions. Resolve Divers identified a tear in the forward starboard side of the engine room between the bilge keel and rub rail, developing from a scrape to a crack to a 9′ wide tear with a rupture length of approximately 3 feet. Resolve mobilized all necessary fuel removal assets and Divers proceeded to seal all sources of continued fuel oil discharge. For manhole accessible tanks, tank covers were removed for conversion into salvage hatches. For the remainder of the tanks Resolve used a series of hot taps, systematically discharging fuel oil from fuel oil tanks and replacing it with water to maintain ballast and displacement. Recovered fuel was transferred to an offshore supply vessel then to storage tanks onshore.
After lightering was completed, Resolve raised the vessel using a combination of dewatering of tanks and lift bags and secured the vessel in preparation for towing, in her inverted position, to safe harbor at Lake Charles, Louisiana. Upon safe arrival dockside, Resolve completed the de-fueling of the vessel and righted her employing a combination of water ballast in off-center fuel tanks and two crane.