CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The vessel disabled off the coast of Cameron Parish earlier this week has partially sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday the 106 foot long International Hunter struck a submerged object around 30 miles offshore.
Seven people on board abandoned ship and were picked up by the crew of The Gulf Endeavor, a passing vessel, the Coast Guard said. No major injuries were reported, but the ship's owner, International Marine, LLC reported Thursday that crew members received medical attention in Cameron once they were ashore.
Recovery efforts were underway to remove the vessel and around 270 barrels of fuel oil on board.
The following is a news release provided on behalf of International Marine, LLC.
Port Arthur, Texas (December 15, 2011) - On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the 120-foot long offshore utility vessel, Int'l Hunter, reported striking a submerged object 30 miles southeast of the Sabine Jetties. The seven men aboard abandoned the vessel in lifeboats, were rescued within the hour and received medical attention upon arrival ashore in Cameron, LA. They were released without serious injuries. The vessel was located this morning and recovery efforts are currently underway, including a search of the area for any debris.
The Int'l Hunter was located by its sister ship, Int'l Navigator, an International Marine vessel that has been monitoring the area, today at approximately 11:30 a.m. The location is 24 miles SE of the Sabine Pass Jetties. Both International Marine and the U.S. Coast Guard have confirmed the identity of the located vessel, which appears to be intact and has been secured. International Marine continues to work in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard and has established a safety zone of one nautical mile surrounding the vessel.
According to Richard M. Currence, Jr., CEO of International Marine, "We completed the initial phase of our response, including locating the Int'l Hunter, and are moving forward with our salvage plan. The recovery effort has progressed without further incident due in no small part to the hard work and excellent communication by both the U.S. Coast Guard and the company."
In order to address any possible environmental impact, containment and clean up equipment was dispatched to the site of the sinking. The U.S. Coast Guard initially reported a light sheen, believed to be caused by diesel fuel, which is expected to dissipate and is not located near land. An International Marine spill recovery vessel remains onsite.
"The density of water is greater than diesel fuel, so any hazardous material that spills will tend to float on top of the water, minimizing interaction throughout the water column," says LTJG Kyle Kichner, USCG. Diesel fuel evaporates very quickly while exposed to the sun and weather elements causing dilution and dissipation. At this time we are not anticipating the sheen to drift in any concentrated quantity towards land."
International Marine, LLC, founded in 1996, owns and operates a growing fleet of 64 vessels that are strategically placed along the Gulf of Mexico coast. This versatile fleet consists of tugs, crew boats, utility and supply boats. For more information on International Marine, please visit, www.intlboats.com.