Crews spent the better part of the afternoon on December 21 hauling a huge cylinder from the sea floor in the waters off Cherry Point, south of Birch Bay.
For about four hours, crews worked to recover a 485-ton, 140-foot-long cylinder that had fallen into the water off Cherry Point during its delivery to the BP Cherry Point refinery on December 9. The piece of equipment is to be installed at the refinery as part of a low-sulfur diesel production program, BP Cherry Point spokesman Bill Kidd said.
Crews from Barnhart Cranes and Rigging, based in Houston, and Global Diving & Salvage used two, multi-hundred-ton cranes mounted on massive barges to inch the cylinder out of the water. Kidd said examinations by divers and remote-operated vehicles before the cylinder was lifted did not reveal any damage to the multimillion dollar piece of equipment, which was originally shipped from South Korea.
The cylinder, filled with nitrogen gas to keep it from corroding, rested diagonally in about 55 feet of water with its tip just breaking the surface. Onlookers watched from the beach as the monumental cranes lifted the cylinder out of the water and placed it onto a waiting barge.
Kidd said the barge was scheduled to come to shore at about 4 a.m. on Thursday, December 22, but tides prevented this from happening. The cylinder was moved from the barge onto a waiting semi truck on December 23 and taken to the refinery soon afterward.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials were on hand to ensure no aquatic resources were damaged during the recovery effort. The work was being done in the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, and Kidd said DNR staff were helpful in getting the operation underway.
“[DNR] was as interested in getting [the cylinder] off their land as we were,” Kidd said.
Kidd said Barnhart Cranes and Rigging has taken full responsibility for the December 9 accident that sent the cylinder tumbling into the water. One Barnhart worker was hurt that day and was released from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center with minor injuries to his foot.
Kidd could not say whether or not state or federal fines would be filed against Barnhart for the accident.
The delay in the cylinder delivery should not affect construction on the refinery’s new hydrogen plant back too much, Kidd said. The project, started in June 2011, will eventually allow the refinery to produce hydrogen for use in making gasoline and diesel fuel.
Hydrogen, added to the fuel production process, will produce low-sulfur diesel fuel and gasoline without benzene as a byproduct. The refinery is undertaking this project to prepare for upcoming federal low-sulfur diesel regulations.