Coast guard to fix Manolis L. leak in January

Josh Pennell
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 Coast guard has confirmed in an email it will pump the remaining oil out of a slipped cofferdam on the Manolis L.

This is not the same as pumping all remaining oil out of the paper carrier that sank in the 1980’s near Change Islands.

According to the email, on Dec. 23, an ROV was deployed to inspect the hull and the cofferdam. The cofferdam was put in place along one area of the hull last July to stop a leak but it recently slipped by several meters.

Bob Grant of coast guard described the cofferdam in a past Telegram article as an inverted funnel. It’s able to hold the equivalent of about three home heating tanks of oil. Coast guard doesn’t think that the cofferdam was full when it slipped.

Oil from the Manolis L. has been an issue since last fall when locals started to see sheen on the water and oil on seabirds in the area. Recently there was an increase in the amount of oil seen and coast guard believes this was caused by the slipping of the cofferdam.

The ROV dive determined that there is still a small amount of fuel discharging from the original tear in the hull but coast guard says this oil is non-recoverable and will dissipate through wave action. The email highlights the plan to replace the cofferdam with another one of different design.

“We have engaged a naval architect to design a new cofferdam that should reduce the impact of ocean currents on the installation. The new cofferdam will be locally manufactured. It is larger and heavier than the original cofferdam, and is designed to allow additional weights to be added if required,” coast guard’s Jan Woodford said in the email.

The hope is that the new cofferdam will be installed in early January providing that weather and sea ice conditions are suitable for the work to be done safely. By the end of January the area is usually ice-covered. Operations to install the new cofferdam will be based from the town of Carmanville, including pollution response equipment and vessels.

During the ROV dive, coast guard also confirmed that a neoprene seal they installed the summer near the middle of the ship continues to work. They also never discovered any new cracks in the hull.

Coast guard says it has received two official reports of oiled birds or oil sheening since December 24. They urge the public to report any oil sighting to the Environmental Emergencies Line (709) 772-2083 or 1-800-563-9089.

Organizations: Environmental Emergencies Line

Geographic location: Change Islands, Carmanville

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Recent comments

  • Barry
    December 31, 2013 - 10:18

    Dissipate: To drive away; disperse. So it will be spread far and wide by the waves !! Joy.

  • Vida black
    December 30, 2013 - 20:20

    This has been a redidiculous situation! When this ship went down Lloyd's insurance should have been responsible for a potential cleanup of the site. Our politicians have been too weak kneed to follow through and avoid an environmental catastrophe for this area. In all the years since they have had ample opportunity to clean this mess up. Now it has been Harper's responsibility to follow through but of course we are at the bottom of his priority list as always in Newfoundland.n1z1

    • Barry
      December 31, 2013 - 10:19

      Dissipate: To drive away; disperse. So it will be spread far and wide by the waves !! Joy.

  • david
    December 30, 2013 - 15:17

    Shag it...just a bit of oil. Wait 'til July when it's nice out to give it another try. Or not. Whatever.