Page 13: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (January 2016)

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relies on statutes such as 33 U.S. Code salvage and environmental intervention. though its location was known, until Convention, was paid for by the Govern- section 409, which requires the owner or If the wreck or its cargo is valuable, intermittent oil slicks were traced back ment of Spain. It is expected that similar operator of a vessel that sinks in a navi- commercial salvors, often in coopera- to the wreck. Monies from the OSLTF operations in the future will be at least gable channel to immediately mark the tion with affected national governments, were used to pay for removal of more partially ? nanced via the Convention wreck and to commence the immediate are undertaking salvage in extremely than 100,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil mechanisms.

removal thereof. Federal law prohib- deep waters. In 1941, the SS Gairsoppa from the wreck. In 2011, the OSLTF The U.S. Coast Guard now routinely its the discharge into the waters of the sank off the coast of Ireland while car- was again tapped to pay for a survey of requires that oil be removed from sunk-

United States of oil or hazardous sub- rying over 110 tons of silver. Much of the wreck of the tanker SS Montebello, en, grounded, and damaged vessels in stances and makes the owner or operator that silver and other artifacts were re- which was sunk by a Japanese subma- U.S. waters. This is primarily so as to of any vessel from which such discharge cently recovered, despite the fact that the rine off the coast of Cambria, California minimize the risk of environmental dam- occurs responsible for its removal or wreck lay about 15,000 feet beneath the in 1942. The survey revealed that the age. This practice also avoids later pay- remediation. In cases where the owner surface, far deeper than the wreck of the hull is structurally sound and that there ment for oil removal by the OSLTF and or operator does not immediately under- Titanic. More recently, a similar amount is little likelihood of an oil discharge in furthers the principle of “the polluter take removal and/or remediation action, of silver was recovered from the wreck the foreseeable future. In Lake Erie, fed- pays”. The days of forgotten wrecks, the federal government may do so and, of the SS City of Cairo, which sank in eral monies recently were used to fund even at great depths, is past.

where possible, seek recovery from the the South Atlantic in 1942 at an even removal of oil and hazardous substances responsible person. Vessels may not greater depth. from the leaking tank barge Argo that operate on waters of the United States On the environmental side, oil is be- sank in 1937 during heavy weather.

unless they have met the ? nancial re- ing recovered from wrecks that have The depth record for recovery of oil sponsibility requirements relating to po- also been ignored for years due to the from a sunken wreck, though, is current-

The Author tential pollution from oil or hazardous depths involved and the previous lack of ly at 13,000 ft. (greater than the depth of substances. The Oil Spill Liability Trust technology able to effect the needed re- the wreck of the RMS Titanic). It was

Dennis L. Bryant is with Maritime Regu-

Fund or the Hazardous Substance Super- covery. In 2001, it was determined that set in 2004, when remotely operated latory Consulting, and a regular contribu- fund (as applicable) is available to cover oil was being released from the wreck vehicles (ROVs) were used to remove tor to Maritime Reporter & Engineering removal and remediation costs incurred of the SS Jacob Luckenbach, a freighter oil from the wreck of the tanker Pres-

News as well as online at MaritimePro- by the federal government. that sank in 1953 in 175 feet of water in tige, which had sunk in 2002 in heavy

As salvage technologies have im- what is now the Gulf of the Farallones weather off the northwest coast of Spain. t: 1 352 692 5493 proved, wrecks that have been ignored National Marine Sanctuary. The wreck That oil recovery operation, occurring e: [email protected] for years are now being considered for was largely forgotten and ignored, even prior to adoption of the Wreck Removal


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