21 December 2000


For more information call: Dan Carlson, Public Affairs Specialist, 782-5421 or 6475.


The Operations Support Command supports the Navy’s environmental cleanup of the USS Cole


Headquarters, U.S. Army, Operations Support Command, Rock Island, Ill.  The United States Navy asked the Operations Support Command for contract support to perform the environmental cleanup of the USS Cole (DDG 67).  World Environmental, Inc. of  Milwaukee, Wisconsin performed the work under an existing small business contract with the command.

 Mr. Bob Matthys, OSC Contracting Officer, sent a government and contractor cleanup team to Norfolk, Virginia in November to tour the Cole’s sister ship, the USS Ramage.  The visit allowed the team to become familiar with the ship and to develop a cleanup plan that focused on performance and safety. Matthys said, “Using our existing contract provided a quick way for the Navy to establish the cleanup of the Cole.”  He added, “The cleanup had to be accomplished prior to any repairs.”  The over $100 thousand effort was performed at Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The Cole lost electrical power to its freezers and refrigerators following the October 12 attack, leaving its food to spoil. The cleanup involved removal of nearly thirty-five tons of decaying meat, fish, poultry and other perishables.

Mr. Paul Janecek, spokesperson for World Environmental, Inc. said, “The large volume of rotted meat emitted dangerous levels of methane and hydrogen sulfide gases.”  He added that hydrogen sulfide gas “attacks the blood’s hemoglobin” and breathing the gas can produce “a deadly effect similar to cyanide gas.”  Janecek was pleased with his company’s effort stating, “The Navy is very happy with our performance, we exceeded all expectations!”  Mr. Janecek is the Davenport, Iowa representative for the company.

The four-day cleanup began December 16 while the Cole remained on the heavy transport ship Blue Marlin; the five member cleanup team was the first contractor to begin work on the ship.  Mr. Irwin Dreyfus, OSC Contracting Officer’s Representative, said “Even after the deadly gases were vented, the stench was overwhelming!” He added, “To dispose of the waste through the ship’s hull, a four foot by six foot hole was cut; water-jet cutting was used to avoid igniting the gases.  We used a crane to hold a dumpster outside the hole so we could quickly dispose of the waste.”  The cleanup team, wearing protective equipment, first established ventilation to remove gases, then administered a chlorinated foam disinfectant wash down to prevent further off gassing.  The rotted food was then placed in double plastic bags and removed for incineration.  Finally the area was cleaned and disinfected.

In addition to the cleanup, the World Environmental team also provided OSHA required confined space entry training to the on site FBI investigators and Department of Defense support personnel.  The company averages $2.5 million per year in hazardous waste management and environmental remediation work.  Their customers include the government and private industry.  The ten full time employees work throughout the country.

The USS Cole, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, was the target of a terrorist bombing attack in the port of Aden, Yemen, during a scheduled refueling. The blast left a 40-foot by 40-foot hole in the port side. The attack killed 17 crew members and injured 39 others. The ship will undergo repairs by her original builder, Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding. The Navy estimates the repairs will take approximately one year to complete and cost about $240 million.  The Cole was returned to the United States December 13, aboard the Norwegian heavy transport ship M/V Blue Marlin owned by Offshore Heavy Transport of Oslo, Norway.

The Cole is based in Norfolk, Virginia. The ship was part of the USS George Washington Battle Group, and was in transit from the Red Sea to a port visit in Bahrain when the attack occurred. The destroyer departed Norfolk for its deployment August 8 and was scheduled to return December 21.


Digital photographs of the cleanup operations are available upon request.


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The U.S. Army Operations Support Command is headquartered on Rock Island Arsenal.  The command has operations in 35 states, 15 nations and Puerto Rico. The command leads the Revolution in Military Logistics by providing a synchronized face to warfighters through centralized control over Army Materiel Command forward elements, it serves as the Defense Department's single manager for conventional ammunition, and manages the Army's arsenals and ammunition storage and production sites.


Public Affairs Team                                           Phone: 309/782-5421

Fax: 309/782-5011                                             Rock Island, IL 61299




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