GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - An oil tanker remained grounded Saturday off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, but no fuel had spilled from it, officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard, other federal and state agencies and a salvage company have been planning a strategy for freeing the 800-foot vessel, the Yasa Golden Dardanelles. It’s carrying 620,000 barrels of low sulfur fuel oil, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Renee Aiello.
“This is something we prepare for,” she said. "Fortunately, events like this are not frequent. But we are the Coast Guard, and we are prepared for this type of event."
A Coast Guard helicopter flew over the ship and saw no evidence of pollution, Aiello said.
The tanker was built by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. in Japan and delivered last spring to Yasa Tanker and Transportation S.A. of Istanbul, Turkey, according to a news release issued by Mitsui at the time. It flies under the flag of the Marshall Islands.
A woman who answered the phone at the Turkish company Saturday said nobody was available to discuss the matter.
The tanker ran aground 22 miles off the coast in sand sometime Friday while waiting for a pilot to guide it into the Houston Ship Channel. The ship ran aground on the north side of the Galveston Safety Fairway, an area that leads to the ship channel, Aiello said.
Coast Guard officials are hopeful that high tide, due to occur between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. could help in refloating the ship.
While plans are being made to remove the ship, the Coast Guard is continuing to observe it, she said.
“Right now, we’re keeping a close eye on the situation,” she said.
A spokesman for Titan Salvage confirmed that the company is involved in the operation.