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Museum’s oil rig crane falls and sinks vessel, T&T Marine Salvage called in

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jerry picton tug

GALVESTON — A towing vessel that was hit by a falling crane boom from the Ocean Star Drilling Rig and Museum sank at the Port of Galveston, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said Thursday.

A salvage operation was under way following the 3:45 p.m. Wednesday sinking of the 40-foot Jerry Picton in 40 feet of water near Pier 21, Petty Officer 3rd Class Renee C. Aiello said in a statement. There were no reports of injuries.
The accident resulted in a light sheen on the water, which was contained, the Coast Guard reported.

A crane from the Ocean Star failed while moving a skid pan to the towing vessel, apparently causing the crane boom to fall onto the Jerry Picton, Aiello said.

The vessel contained 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of crude oil. T&T Marine Salvage and the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit arrived within 30 minutes, placing a 500-foot barrier around the vessel.

Divers secured the fuel vents, but Thursday a light sheen was seen on the water’s surface inside the boom, Aiello said.

“There has been minimal environmental impact, and the Coast Guard will continue to monitor this situation until salvage operations are complete,” Galveston Marine Safety Unit Cmdr. Jim Elliott said.

Salvage divers were expected to place straps around the vessel to lift it from the water so the fuel could be removed and the vessel could be repaired at a local shipyard, Aiello said.

A message left Thursday with the Ocean Star seeking comment wasn’t returned.

www.galvnews.com

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