Rough seas complicated salvage of a platform supply vessel that lost power and ran aground near the Corpus Christi, Texas, harbor. Four days later a salvage tug refloated the vessel and towed it to port.
A Small Craft Advisory was in effect March 4 when Int’l Carrier, a 110-foot-long, 98-gross-ton OSV owned by International Offshore Services, lost power.
The vessel ran aground on the beach of San Jose Island, a barrier island, about nine miles north of Port Aransas off Corpus Christi. The captain reported 8,000 gallons of fuel and 110 gallons of lube oil on board. No injuries were reported to the four-person crew, who stayed on board during the salvage operation.
The four-foot waves made it difficult for the vessel to get assistance before it ran aground.
“Normally, with the loss of propulsion you could get somebody out to bring them in, but the Small Craft Advisory that was in effect that day in particular played a big part (in the grounding),” said Coast Guard Chief Patricia Murphy.
The weather calmed somewhat in the intervening days, but there was another Small Craft Advisory in effect on March 8, when the refloating operation began. Starting in the afternoon, a salvage tug took about six hours to pull Int’l Carrier to deeper waters, according to Lt. Patrick Marshall, chief of the Coast Guard Incident Management Division in Corpus Christi. The vessel reached port at about 2300 on March 8, Marshall said.
After the crew’s safety was assured, the U.S. Coast Guard reviewed the salvage plan to ensure any accidental release of pollutants could be contained. However, the weather made environmental preparations difficult as well.
“Given the conditions they were working, putting a boom around a boat in four-foot waves doesn’t have an outstanding impact,” Marshall said.
The Coast Guard investigation is not complete and no cause for the loss of power has been determined.