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November 22, 2005

Third tank of capsized barge is breached

Divers yesterday completed the damage assessment of the capsized K-Sea Transportation double-hulled tank barge DBL 152.

An update issued by the Coast Guard says the assessment revealed that a third cargo tank has breached.

The number one port cargo tank hatch was damaged sometime after the barge capsized on Nov. 14. The cargo tank contained approximately 440,000 gallons of oil.

A diver survey of the barge on Saturday evening discovered a 2.5-foot by 8-foot hole in the top of the number three starboard cargo tank. It also had been damaged sometime when or after the barge capsized, and it contained approximately 564,000 gallons of oil.

The number one starboard cargo tank was damaged in the collision with debris on Nov. 10.

The entire contents of all three damaged cargo tanks were 1,309,000 gallons of oil.

It is not known how much oil has escaped the damaged tanks.

There is no visible surface oil. The thick, heavy petroleum product known as number-six fuel oil is heavier than water, and it sinks to the bottom of the sea.

Response teams are conducting multiple surveys to locate submerged oil.

Concentrations of submerged oil have been found, and assets are being mobilized to begin clean-up.

The Texas General Land Office has created a network of individuals to monitor Texas beaches for any indication of oiling. This network will remain active for several months. The TGLO, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, the barge owner, the Coast Guard, and other agencies have developed a shoreline clean-up plan, which will be implemented if oil is found along the Texas or Louisiana coastlines.

The double-hulled tank barge DBL 152 struck some debris Nov. 10, while en route from Houston to Tampa, Fla. The debris gouged a 35-foot long by 6-foot wide hole in the barge's starboard bow, puncturing both hulls and damaging the number one cargo tank.

Company officials and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are conducting surveys on a submerged platform with which the barge is suspected to have collided.

The platform was damaged during the recent hurricane.

The 441-foot barge is now at position 29 12.3 degrees north, 093 28.2 degrees west, about 29 miles due south of the Calcasieu Pass, La. and about 100 miles due east of Galveston, Texas.

The barge is not obstructing marine traffic, and all area waterways remain open.

A four-mile safety zone is in effect around the barge.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

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