Removal of oil from sunken tankers

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



A study was conducted on methods of eliminating the oil threat from sunken tankers. The following possibilities were considered: (1) destruction of the tanker and treating the oil on the surface, (2) treating the oil in the tanker, and (3) salvage of the oil. A thorough investigation of present chemical, biological, natural degradation, and mechanical methods of treating oiled to the conclusion that pumping the oil from the tankers was the most economical and effective solution. The final design was limited to ships lying in one hundred to six hundred feet of water. It incorporates a search operation to locate and buoy the tanker, a preliminary survey to determine the position and condition of the ship and methods for penetrating the tanks and pumping the oil from them. Necessary precautions are included to prevent leakage of oil during the operations. The oil would be removed by dynamically positioning a converted tanker and a diver operation boat over the sunken ship. A ten-inch rubber hose would be lowered to the sunken ship and secured to the hull with diver-operated stud guns. Two penetrations would be made in each oil tank to allow water in and oil out. The hull would be penetrated by either a pneumatically operated circular saw or a large reactionless hole punch. Once the holes were made the oil would be pumped to the converted tanker for transportation to a shore based processing plant. Final cleanup would involve capping the open holes and inoculating each tank with oil eating bacteria.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

2005 International Oil Spill Conference, IOSC 2005

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