California cruise ship awaits fate after refloating, cleanup

(SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif.) — A unified command has completed its pollution response to Aurora, a decommissioned cruise ship, which sank May 22 in Little Potato Slough within the San Joaquin Delta northwest of Stockton.

Over the past several weeks, response contractors, Global Diving and Salvage and subcontractors, successfully refloated the vessel and removed an estimated 21,675 gallons of oily water, 3,193 gallons of hazardous waste, and five 25-yard bins of debris from it. Extensive surveys suggest that no recoverable oil remains on board. There were no observations of oiled wildlife throughout the response.

The 294-foot Aurora, a non-operational cruise ship, was moored northwest of Stockton, Calif., when it sank on May 22. California Department of Fish and Wildlife photo

With petroleum removal operations related to the vessel complete, the unified command has disbanded. The city of Stockton has hired contractors to maintain pumps within the vessel to address potential water ingress and monitor the vessel. Relevant agencies are assessing options for potential removal of the vessel. Out of an abundance of caution, the containment boom will remain in place.

The unified command consisted of representatives from U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the city of Stockton.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff