Bow Mariner salvage operation ends

The operation to locate and recover the missing crew from the Bow Mariner and remove fuel oil ended Friday, March 26 with the approval of the US Coast Guard.      The tanker sank on February 28, in the Atlantic Ocean 50 nautical miles off the Virginia coast in 264-feet of water after experiencing several explosions and fire while en route from New York to Texas City, with about 11,000 mt Ethanol.      The vessel had a crew of 27, comprising of 24 Filipinos and three Greeks. Six crewmen survived, 3 bodies have been recovered and 18 were missing.      The vessel is commercially operated by Odfjell in Bergen, Norway, owned by Odfjell’s Singaporean subsidiary Odfjell Asia II Pte Ltd, and managed by Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises in Greece.      The salvage effort was called off after a comprehensive search using a sophisticated remotely operated vehicle (ROV), an analysis of high-resolution video images and evaluating extensive soundings of the sunken vessel’s fuel tanks.      “We are saddened because we did not locate any of the 18 missing seamen,” said a joint statement by Odfjell and Ceres.      “The Mystic Viking and its crew spent more than 60 hours directing the ROV to areas in and around the ship.”      Salvage experts retained by Odfjell and Ceres presented the results of their findings to Coast Guard officers at Norfolk’s Marine Safety Office on March 26.      “We have monitored recovery and clean up efforts closely through out this whole ordeal,” said Captain Robert R. O’Brien, Jr., head of the Hampton Roads Coast Guard Marine Safety Office. “We had hoped to come away from this operation with some closure for the families, but they should be assured we did everything in our power to find their loved ones.”      “Due to extensive damage to the ships storage tanks, we believe that no recoverable product is left onboard the Bow Mariner,” Captain O’Brien said.      Odfjell and Ceres early March began the process of establishing a memorial fund to be used to assist the immediate families of the deceased and missing seamen of Bow Mariner, including financing the education of their children. The fund will be administered by an international accounting firm, Ernst & Young.      Odfjell’s Internet home page will be updated as further information is available.

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