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Harbor of Refuge Abandoned Derelict Vessels

Site Contact:
Harry Allen


Site Location:
Piti, GU 96915

Guam EPA has requested EPA Region 9 to assist with the removal of nine (9) abandoned, derelict vessels (“ADVs”) in the Harbor of Refuge, Apra Harbor, Piti, Guam.  The list includes: 2 commercial, long-liner fishing vessels, 1 commercial tug boat, 2 military vessels, 1 trimaran sailboat and 3 other sailboats.  The vessels are a mix of steel (3), fiberglass and composite construction. 

The project is a joint effort between EPA and the US Navy.  US Navy Marine Salvage Unit personnel were requested by Guam Governor Executive Order to participate through the Innovative Readiness Training program.  The Navy is assisting with salvage of 9 targeted Harbor of Refuge ADVs as an underwater salvage training exercise.  Guam EPA and the Port of Guam are managing non-hazardous debris from the operation.  EPA is removing and disposing all hazardous wastes associated with the ADVs. US Coast Guard Sector Guam is also assisting with oversight and marine safety.

Past surveys, conducted by Guam EPA, the Navy and NOAA, have observed hazardous wastes on these vessels leading to suspicion that more wastes are present but obscured along with hazardous substance contamination (e.g., metals and chemicals in coatings and/or in containers).  Three of the five military/commercial vessels still have their engines.  Marine batteries, gas cylinders, fuel and unknown drums have been observed in some of the vessels in the past surveys.  The ADVs are also likely to contain asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paint, caulk and electrical waste.  ADVs often contain residual oil in significant quantity. 

The ADVs and associated hazardous substances, in many cases, are releasing to the waters of Apra Harbor.  The area contains significant aquatic resources such as mangrove and turtle habitat and is also an important recreational (sailing and diving) and commercial (primarily boat-based tourism) area.