OSV spills diesel fuel after hitting rig

An offshore supply boat had its hull pierced when it struck an oil rig, and the vessel spilled thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard said a dynamic positioning system on the boat would have prevented the accident.
The Kim Susan Inc. supply boat Grady Fagan hit the semisubmersible rig Ocean Star, in the early morning hours of Feb. 16. The collision occurred about 140 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, and about 30 miles south of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, an environmentally sensitive area.
The 193-foot supply vessel was preparing to offload supplies when it hit one of the legs of the rig. The ship was holed below the waterline in a starboard fuel tank and had a 2-inch gash above the waterline.
The crew immediately began transferring fuel out of that tank and into another to prevent additional fuel from leaking into the water. The tank held 9,000 gallons of diesel for the vessel’s engines, not fuel to be offloaded. Fuel for the vessel’s engines is lighter than the fuel typically offloaded for a rig, making it easier to disperse.
It is not known exactly how much of the 9,000 gallons of fuel leaked into the Gulf, though a Coast Guard press release said thousands of gallons spilled. A Coast Guard jet from Air Station Corpus Christi detected no pollution.
Kim Susan hired Marine Spill Response Corp. to clean up the spill, but severe weather moving through the area northward with 6- to 8-foot seas dispersed the oil, according to Chief Warrant Officer Adam Wine, a public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard at Houston.
The Grady Fagan is a 193-foot-by-48-foot supply boat. It was built in 1998 by Halter Marine Group.

Like most supply boats of the 1990s era, the Grady Fagan was built without a classed dynamic positioning system. Dynamic positioning systems enable a vessel to hold station in relation to a rig or platform so that collisions between the petroleum infrastructure and supply vessels do not occur, Wine said.

By Professional Mariner Staff