Guam – The US Coast Guard and the Navy have put pumps in place and are removing the water in an effort to keep Guam Shipyards only active dry dock a float. Coast Guard Lieutenant Wade Thomson says they got word from the Navy close to 2 am Monday morning, that the dry dock known as “Big Blue,” had partially sunk.
More than 24 hours later, The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, the Guam Environment Protection Agency and Gresco are working on a plan to mitigate and get rid of the oil and diesel fuel that is on board the dry dock. The Dry Dock’s can hold a maximum potential of close to 83,000 gallons of fuel, but according to Thomson, they believe the amount aboard the dry dock is far lower than that. He also points out that none of the fuel has contaminated the harbor.
During normal operations a dry dock, can be flooded to allow a vessel to be floated in, then drained to allow that vessel to come to rest on a dry platform where the construction, maintenance, and repairs can be performed on ships, boats and other watercraft.
Last year, the Guam shipyard won a million federal contract worth over 10 million dollars to repair and modify the submarine tender USS Frank Cable. The period of performance for this work was done between July and August.
Although looking at this dry dock, things appear to look normal because the key function of a Dry dock is to be flooded with water, but this dry dock took on too much water. The US Navy and the Coast Guard are currently investigating what on why this dry dock partially sank. Thomson says they are looking into a number of things that may have caused this dry dock to take on water. Thomson says one of the things they are looking at, is the recent water conditions around the island over the past few days, the swells were unusually high.
According to NOAA’s National Weather Service Guam Forecast Office, this rough waters and high surf was caused by a weather system that came from Japan.
Thomson says for now, they are also investigating other variables that may have contributed the dry dock to partially sink.
A statement from Guam Shipyard’s Administrative Manager Marie T. Camacho says “Once dewatered, we will make a comprehensive assessment to ascertain if any damages to the dry-dock has occurred.”