Oil tanker strikes sunken jackup in US Gulf of Mexico



GALVESTON — Norwegian oil tanker SKS Satilla was damaged after striking the sunken hull of Ensco International jackup ENSCO 74 on Mar. 6, 65 miles (104 km) south of Galveston. The jackup was submerged in 115 feet (35 m) of water.

The 900-foot tanker was damaged along the port side of its hull below the water line, taking in water in its ballast tanks. The tanker, which has around 39.9 million gallons of crude oil on board, has been stabilized, and the U.S. Coast Guard has begun lightening operations. The Coast Guard expect the oil to be offloaded by Tuesday. No injuries or oil spills were recorded.

An ROV operated by SMIT Salvage retraced the SKS Satilla’s course to find what caused the damaged and discovered jackup ENSCO 74. The rig was lost and presumed sunk after Hurricane Ike in September 2008. At the time of storm, the rig had been located in around 230 feet (70 m) of water 92 miles (148 km) from shore in South Marsh Island Block 149. ENSCO conducted aerial and sonar reconnaissance following the storm but failed to locate the rig.

The jackup’s position has been marked by a buoy to prevent additional accidents and mark it for salvage in the future. Ensco maintains insurance policies for removal of wreckage and debris. Ensco also maintains liability policies which it believes will provide coverage for losses resulting from the incident for which Ensco may have responsibility, including any environmental issues, subject to a US$10 million self-insured retention.

Ensco stated that it has not conducted an independent investigation of the incident yet.

SKS Satilla is a Norwegian-flagged vessel owned by Bermuda-based SKS Tankers and built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries yard in Ulsan, South Korea.



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