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EPA Opens Its Ocean Research Vessel to the Public

Release Date: 10/23/2000
Contact Information:
(#00198) San Juan, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Ocean Survey Vessel, OSV Peter W. Anderson, will be in town this week to assess the health of Puerto Rico’s coastal waters. EPA is inviting the public to come aboard on Thursday, October 26 at the Port Authority Pier 1 in San Juan. The ship, which is in the Caribbean conducting an oceanographic survey of Puerto Rico’s waters, will also play host to students of all ages who will explore the ship and learn about their coastal environment.

The Anderson is in Puerto Rico to observe coral reefs, monitor pollution from wastewater treatment and industry outfalls, and conduct ocean site surveys.

"Not only are we be doing important environmental work, we are using the ship as a floating classroom," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "The Anderson is a crucial part of EPA’s efforts to preserve and protect thousands of miles of coastal waters from Maine to the Caribbean. The ship is an invaluable tool that allows us to evaluate the effects of pollution on the marine environment and take action to protect it."

On Thursday, October 26, the ship will be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC from 9:00 a.m. - Noon and from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m at the Port Authority Pier 1.

The Anderson is doing survey work in Puerto Rico waters for the next week and a half. EPA, which will focus its sampling efforts on areas that receive discharges from wastewater treatment plants, will use the information collected to assess the environmental impacts of discharges from these plants. The ship will be used to take samples of water and sediments from the bottom of the ocean and to assess the health of fish and other marine life. EPA will share the information gathered with the public and the government of Puerto Rico.

The Anderson has served the federal government for over 30 years. Built in 1966 as a U.S. Naval Patrol Gunboat (the USS Antelope), the ship saw action in the Vietnam War before being converted for scientific use in 1979. The ship was later re-named "OSV Peter W. Anderson" after an EPA Region 2 scientist.

The Anderson been used to:

- Respond to marine and estuarine emergencies. In 1990, the Anderson helped respond to a 750,000 gallon crude oil spill in the Delaware River. In 1992, it helped the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy find drums of deadly arsenic that had washed off the deck of a container ship 25 miles off the coast of Cape May, New Jersey.

- Monitor disposal activities and conditions at ocean disposal sites to ensure that EPA is taking every step necessary to ensure that there are no adverse impacts of disposal of dredged materials on the marine environment.

- Assess the important estuaries, harbors and ocean waters of the U.S., including Puerto Rico.