Oil tanker’s hull holed when ship hits bottom in the Hudson River

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating why a tanker went off course on the Hudson River, grounded and punctured two ballast tanks.

The 600-foot Stena Primorsk departed at 0800 on Dec. 20, 2012, from the Buckeye terminal at Albany, N.Y., with 282,477 barrels of crude oil and headed south, said Chief Warrant Officer Rich Zampella, the investigating officer. He said the ship traveled about three miles before a problem arose.

“At approximately 0840 the vessel drifted to starboard and struck ground on the starboard side, breaching the No. 1 and No. 2 starboard ballast tanks,” Zampella said. “There was no pollution because the oil tanks were not punctured.” The hole in the hull measured approximately 6 feet square.

Stena Primorsk was heading to an Irving Oil Corp. refinery in St. John, New Brunswick, carrying shale crude from the Bakken field in North Dakota that had been transported by rail to Albany. The ship is owned by Concordia Maritime of Gothenburg, Sweden, and operated by Northern Marine Management Ltd.

“Immediately following the incident, the ship’s crew activated their emergency response plan and notified local authorities,” Concordia said in a statement. “At the time of the incident, a pilot was on board the ship and all navigational and mechanical equipment on the vessel was fully operational.”

Hudson River Pilot Association officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

After hitting the river bottom, Zampella said, the vessel continued to the Stuyvesant Anchorage and anchored at approximately 1000. The ship remained there so divers could perform an underwater hull inspection. A classification society came on board the next day to perform an initial hull and structural examination that was completed the following day.

The same day, the tanker returned to Buckeye Terminal where the cargo was transferred to barges over several days. On Dec. 30, the ship left Albany and traveled down the Hudson to the Bay Ridge Anchorage off Brooklyn. Then it was moved to the GMD dry dock in Bayonne, N.J., on Jan. 5.

A damage assessment was pending in February, Zampella said. He said alcohol tests were negative and the results of drug tests were not yet available.

Concordia Maritime said, “once repairs are made and the classification society has inspected and approved the work, the ship will return to service.”

By Professional Mariner Staff