Wrecks cleared of leaking oil

Around the world, a number of shipwrecks have been cleared of their oil, and serious pollution avoided.   One such example in the Federated States of Mircronesia is very relevant to our project…


Largely forgotten and unlocated after the end of World War Two, the Mississinewa’s wreck was rediscovered in 2001 after it began to leak out some of the 2,800,000 gallons of oil thought to be in her tanks. Found lying inverted in 130ft of water, the Mississinewa became the subject of an intensive effort by the US Navy Supervisor of Salvage & Diving in 2001-2002 to remove the remaining oil held aboard the ship before her aging hull gave out and caused a catastrophic oil spill.

Utilizing a hot-tap pumping system, US Navy salvage divers drilled 20 individual taps in the Mississinewa’s tanks and proceeded to safely remove all 1,950,000 gallons of oil remaining in the wreck in February 2003, after which the ship was deemed to no longer pose an environmental hazard. Today, the wreck of the Mississinewa has become a popular dive site and is a designated war grave for the 63 men still aboard ship.

US Navy report on Mississinewa oil removal operations