SS Montebello ROV Assessment

October , 2011

Global Diving and Salvage Inc. has been contracted by the United States Coast Guard to determine if oil is present aboard the sunken ship S.S. Montebello, which sits 900 feet below the ocean surface approximately 6.5 miles off the coast of Cambria, California.

The S.S. Montebello sank after a Japanese submarine torpedoed the large oil tanker on December 23,1941. The vessel broke apart landing upright with her bow separated from the majority of the wreckage. To date, no signs of leakage have been detected, and from previous visual inspections by submarine, the cargo section appears to be intact.

The possibility of future oil release has prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to contract Global to determine the integrity of the cargo section and its contents. Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferrier, acting as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, states, “The California coast is a vital national resource that we must protect.” Additionally, he explains, “Working in concert with our state and local partners, it is our duty to ensure we gain good information about the Montebello so we can do our best to protect the marine environment.”

Global’s Cougar XT ROV will be used as the platform which will support the inspection, both visual and sonar, thickness gauging, backscatter tooling operations, physical sampling of the tank contents, and sediment sampling from the general area. Global has teamed with T&T Bisso to provide engineering support and 3D modeling on the vessel. Additionally, Tracerco has been subcontracted to utilize their neutron backscatter tool, a non-invasive sensing device, which will be used to determine the presence of oil and oil/water interface.

“This sampling and observation operation will provide the answers needed to truly assess what threat, if any, the Montebello poses,” said Capt. Chris Graff from California Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, who will be serving as the State On-Scene Coordinator.

“Global Diving & Salvage is pleased to work in collaboration with the United States Coast Guard, other federal and state agencies, and our teaming partners to assist in the assessment of the vessel in a safe and efficient manner” says Devon Grennan, President of Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. “The project provides a unique opportunity to take a proactive approach towards mitigating potential pollution threats, and Global is proud to be a part of it.”

Project Updates
February 1, 2012: Feature on the Discovery Channel’s Daily PlanetThe search for oil on the sunken SS Montebello was recently featured on Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, check out the video Here!

October 21, 2011: Expedition finds no oil aboard sunken WWII-era tanker SS Montebello
SANTA CRUZ — Early tests on a World War II-era sunken oil tanker 900 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean show no significant oil aboard. To read the whole article in the Monterey County Herald Click Here.

October 20, 2011: No visual evidence of oil found onboard S.S. Montebello

Unified Command issues press release detailing results of recent ROV survey on the SS Montebello. Click Here to view press release.


5/1/12: ROV Used for Residual Oil Check(Spill International)
11/5/11: Global Diving & Salvage on a mission coast to coast, and beyond (West Seattle Herald)
11/1/11: No Oil Found on Sunken WWII Wreck (The Maritime Executive)
10/24/11: No Oil Found Aboard Sunken WWII Tanker (gCaptain)
10/21/11: Scientists find no oil in sunken 1941 oil tanker off California coast (Marin Independent Journal)
10/18/11: Six Miles Offshore: The Wreck Of Montebello (North County Public Radio )
10/18/11: Six Miles Offshore: The Wreck Of Montebello (NPR)
10/16/11: Underwater rover looking for oil in old sunken ship (Santa Maria Times)
10/16/11: Oil Patch Bits: Global ROV to be used to determine oil at 900 feet (Petroleum News)
10/12/11: ROV Deployed on WWII Era Wreck(Marine Link)
10/12/11: Crews begin Montebello dives (New Times SLO)
10/10/11: Sunken World War II-era tanker — which may hold 3 million gallons of oil — to be investigated by high-tech divers. (Mercury News)
10/10/11: Secrets of the Deep: Are 3 million gallons of oil sitting off Monterey Bay in a sunken WWII vessel? (Mercury News)

Product Documents:
Marine Technology, June 2012 Issue