Bad weather partially submerges dry dock - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bad weather partially submerges dry dock

by Nick Delgado

Guam - U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed this morning that the island's only dry dock, "Big Blue", partially sunk. Two-thirds of Guam's only dry dock submerged under water around 1:41 early Monday morning. Guam Shipyard officials say it was due to the inclement weather.

USCG Sector Guam Acting Public Affairs Officer Lt. Commander Felton Gilmore says the Guam Shipyard has contacted their Environmental Response Team and will be recovering barrels that dispersed into the water. Gilmore could not say what was in the barrels. Guam Shipyard President and CEO Mathews Pothen says, "Big Blue took in some water, which caused her to submerge and Guam Shipyard employees are now dewatering her at this time." He added that once dewatered a comprehensive assessment will be conducted to determine if there was any damage to the dry dock.

Pothenhe says a 150-gallon diesel tank that was floating from the dry dock area was recovered, there was no oil spill and no one was injured. Officials at this time also could not reveal if any ongoing or upcoming jobs will be affected.

While the Coast Guard is conducting an investigation, it issued a broadcast to mariners advising boaters in the area to be cautious of items that may be floating in the water.

The Guam Shipyard has made headlines in recent weeks as the company is trying to obtain a qualifying certificate from the Guam Economic Development Authority that originally denied their request eight years ago after handwritten changes were made to the document by then-governor Carl Gutierrez on the very last day of his administration.  The shipyard is also working with GEDA to obtain a long-term lease of the property to continue operations well beyond the military buildup. 

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command has issued a request for expression of interest for companies interested in leasing 49 acres of property at Apra Harbor for the purpose of  providing ship repair and maintenance services. 

It's unclear what impact, if any, the partial submersion of the dry dock will have on the Guam Shipyard's ability to continue providing services for military sealift command ships.

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