Looks ugly, no? Go take a look at the bow, too. Could have been worse.
New details are emerging about the grounding. The vessel was grounded on a coral reef, rather than sand, and the amount of dumped “mainly salt water” sewage (sewage is, no matter how you cut it, mainly water) keeps growing (from zero to 5000 to 7000 gallons).
If these two pesky environmental issues were known during the incident and not disseminated, the failure to share that information constrained the options of others who might have been able to help. The sewage thing could have been avoided. And the reef issue, with a little advance notice, could have become a net positive. It does not do the U.S. Navy any good to have a clear and confident post-grounding motto “We’re working to protect the ship, crew and environment” crumble a week or so after the incident.
Ask yourselves: What looks better–the present round of ugly Port Royal headlines, or a similarly-timed wave of “here’s the Navy moving in to save the coral” news? For the sake of everything holy, it’s a ready-made “Animal Planet” feature. People love that sort of stuff. I mean, we’ve got Navy divers out there today, essentially gluing coral together right now! Yet the potential for garnering positive PR from that sort of recovery work is, given the late revelation about the reef, totally lost. Gone. And that’s a shame.
In other news, Pearl Harbor’s organic salvage assets are getting cut. Had those salvage assets gone away a few months earlier, I’ll dare to speculate the Port Royal would have been sitting on that reef far, far longer than she did. Is this neck-down of salvage assets wise? Discuss: