2.08.2009

USS PORT ROYAL

The guided missile cruiser is stuck in 17 to 22 feet of water about a half mile off Honolulu International Aiport's reef runway. Early this morning a salvage ship, the USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52)the M/V Dove and four Navy and three commercial tugboats tried to remove the ship during high tide.
"Our priorities have been and remain the safety of the crew, the safety of the ship and the safety of the environment," said Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "There have been no injuries associated with the grounding or our recovery efforts."
The larger tugboats and tow vessels used this morning provided more pulling power to nudge the 9,600 ton, 567-foot-long ship off the sandy and rocky bottom, but that wasn't enough. This morning the Navy began their redoubled effort at 1:30 a.m., but the ship remained aground after four hours of towing. The Navy's assessing its options on how to proceed.
Previous attempts on Friday and Saturday morning to refloat the ship were unsuccessful. Prior to yesterday's attempt, the Navy removed fuel, personnel and water from the ship in an attempt to make it lighter, but it was still stuck.
The ship is home ported at Pearl Harbor and was commissioned on July 9. Walsh will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. today. The ship's hull is structurally sound and there has not been any fuel leaks or spills.
"We are working closely with both the U.S. Coast Guard and the state of Hawai'i to ensure all precautions are being taken should a release of fuel occur," Walsh said.

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