USCG Sector New York
M/V Sichem Defiance
Regional Response Team II Meeting
November 16, 2010
LCDR André Murphy
Chief, Incident Management Division
Incident Description
 0820 on 10JAN10 - SECNY VTS received report of an
explosion onboard M/V Sichem Defiance during loading
ops with the tank barge Freedom while anchored in
Gravesend Bay
 No personnel casualties or damage to hull integrity
 No known discharge occurred into the water from the
initial incident.
 There was a report of product being blown into the air.
FDNY tested the water for ethanol and the air for
 January 10, 2010 – January 30, 2010
Vessel Information
 443’ oil/chemical tanker
 Flag: Marshall Islands
 18 Persons On Board
Cargo Information
 1,722,000 gallons of Denatured Ethanol
 650,000 gallons of Linear Alkylbenzene
Initial Response Actions
Launched CG STA NY 45’ keeping them upwind 150
CDO commenced briefings to IO, MI, ICR, D1
Requested FDNY send HAZ team on board
Diverted CGC TAMPA to enforce 1,000 yard safety
Crew applied cement patch to control vapors
When safe to respond, IO/MI/Pollution team boarded
IMT Stood up; OSC notified NYDEC/NYCOEM
Response Actions
• An Incident Management Team was put into place on
10JAN10 with the USCG, NYS DEC, OEM, FDNY,
NOAA, the ships’ Agent and contractors
• The USCG Atlantic Strike Team arrived 11JAN10 to
provide air and transfer monitoring
• USCG assets patrolled a 1000 yard VTS Safety
Measure around the vessel
• CERCLA opened for $25K - AST air monitoring =
• FDNY Marine was on scene for safety
• The RRT was activated on 16JAN10
Damage to M/V Sichem Defiance
 Rupture of the main deck - 3.5' x 1' hole & 1' by 3" crack
above #3 starboard cargo
 Several tanks (cargo and ballast) on the vessel were
 3 P & 3 S Cargo
 4 S Cargo
 3 P, 3 S & 4 S Ballast
 The investigation is currently focusing on the pressure
relief valve on the #3 S cargo tank.
Sichem Defiance Diagram
M/V Sichem Defiance
Damage to 4 starboard cargo tank
M/V Sichem Defiance
Damage to 3 starboard cargo tank, aft bulkhead
M/V Sichem Defiance
Damage to 3 starboard cargo hold
Damage to 4 starboard cargo hold
Twisted frames on deck with
cement patches
Broken gusset and cement patch
#3 Stbd Cargo Tank – CL blkhd
#3 Port Cargo Tank – CL blkhd
M/V Sichem Defiance – Vessel stable at 6.5° starboard list
M/V Sichem Defiance
Trajectory for Ethanol and Linear Alkylbenzene
Environmentally sensitive areas
that may have been affected if there was a discharge
Initial Incident Objectives
1. Ensure safety of life and property in the port-area and
surrounding communities during all phases of
2. Prevent further cargo release into water or atmosphere.
3. Supervise M/V Sichem Defiance salvage and repair.
4. Re-open anchorage and fully restore Marine
Transportation System as soon as determined safe.
Constraints/ Limitations
Weather temps between 19 °-46°, often in low 30s.
Presence of vapors
Unsafe operations at night
Damage to cargo & ballast tanks unknown
No facilities in Port of NY/NJ that take LAB
Initial rpts of barge avail for LAB was 2-3 wks
Ship to ship transfer proposed
Performing structural analyses by sending plans to
SERT for review
Resp & Ship Crew fatigue management
Chemical Tanker availability
Pumping out wing ballast tanks
Incident Mitigation Actions
• Utilized internal cargo transfer pumps to move product
from 3P, 3S, 4S to other undamaged cargo holds
• Stripped damaged tanks as much as possible until
leaching ceased
• Then conducted “over-the-top” transfer to remove
product from ballast tanks.
• Transferred cargo off of Sichem Defiance to two
different vessels
RRT Items of note
• Issues presented
– Products on board threatening discharge
– The need to perform tank cleanings
– Number of times the tanks needed to be washed and
stripped before allowing subsequent water to be
discharged overboard.
• Decisions
– It was agreed upon to allow the vessel to discharge
into the water after 3 washes of each tank where the
water used to wash the tank was transferred to “slop”
Response Resources
Sector New York Command Center
Sector New York Incident Management Team 
Sector New York Vessel Traffic Service
USCG Atlantic Strike Team
USCG Station New York (4 - 45’ RBM’s)
USCG SERT (Salvage Engineering Response
FDNY Marine 1, Marine 6 and Marine 9
Regional Response Team II
NYC Office of Emergency Management
NYC Department of Environmental Protection
NY Department of Environmental Conservation
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator
Lessons Learned
 Interoperable Communication
 Interagency Dissemination of Incident Report Updates
 Logistics Support for Response Personnel
Interoperable Communications
 Observations
 Comms between agencies on at least 6 different frequencies and cell
 Number and variance in frequencies led to disparate command and
control during the initial response.
 Action
 Interoperable communication equipment shortfall noted in the
Coast Guard Contingency Preparedness System
 Communications Unit Leader (COML) identified in Watch Quarter
Station Bill (WQSB)
 COML will develop an incident specific Communications Plan (ICS-205 form)
Interagency Dissemination of Incident Reports
 Observation
 The USCG Homeport e-portal was used to communicate incident
 Response agencies concerned that Homeport is too cumbersome to
retrieve info and the dissemination of key infor to partner agencies
was delayed.
 Action
 Situation Unit Leader (SITL) will create an incident-specific e-mail
or text message distribution list to pass timely infor to key response
 A Sector New York SITL-specific checklist will be created and
provided in the SITL’s “Go-Kit.”
 USCG Homeport will continue to be used.
Logistics Support for Response Personnel
 Observation
 Transportation of response personnel and logistics coordination was
difficult or often delayed due to uncoordinated transportation plan.
 Response personnel noted a critical need for a dedicated small boat
asset for
 transportation
 safety zone enforcement
 emergency evacuation platform
 Action
 SECNY identified LSC position in WQSB
 For future hazardous-condition responses, USCG Sector New York
Response, OSC, PSC, and LSC will immediately evaluate small-boat
availability for
 dedicated transportation
 safety standby
After Action Plans
 Utilize COML to develop a incident specific comms plan
 Continue to redevelop the Alert Warning System to include
incident specific agency notifications in addition to the NRC
 Disseminate incident update reports via email/text messages,
in addition to Homeport
 If available, dedicate a small boat asset for logistic support
and emergency response operations