BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard, released an update on USS The Sullivans Sunday evening.

The joint release said the nice weather helped the team make progress in recovery operations and that the ship entry plan was approved, allowing crews to enter interior compartments of the ship.

A marine chemist performed air monitoring inside the ship and said the readings were normal. Dozens of artifacts have been rescued and are now in the care of the Buffalo Naval Park curator. Coast Guard Commander John Parsons will reportedly be on site starting Monday, to assist with artifact
collection, management, restoration and preservation.

and that local businesses have been showing support and several local eateries donations have been donating food to the crew.

Naval Park Director of Museum Collections and Curator Shane Stephenson also provided an update on the status of USS The Sullivans Sunday evening via YouTube.

Stephenson said crews were “test pumping” areas on USS The Sullivans Sunday afternoon, preparing for the actual pumping to raise the ship. Stephenson said that will likely occur within the next two or three days.

“We are currently at a 14.1 degree list,” he said. “When she first started, she was about 30 [degrees], so more than 50% she has come up to port.”

Stephenson also said the reduction in angle is a good thing, as the ship is not sliding deeper into the river. He also said crews removed 26 cubic yards of oily contaminated materials and debris and 13 holes have been plugged. More than 200 yards of absorbent boom were replaced with new or clean absorbent materials.

He said 13,000 gallons of contaminated water have been pumped out and put into nearby containers from Miller Environmental Group. The water being pumped out Sunday afternoon was what he described as “pure river water.”

In all, approximately 50,000 gallons of water have been removed from the ship since the beginning of the recovery.

“We actually feel really good about today’s update,” Stephenson said. “They feel that they’re going to start the work — the actual pumping — after the pumping plan and the data has been collated… [they] can do it from there.”

Stephenson thanked viewers for their continued support before signing off on the update. The Naval Park also released a video, produced last year and intended to be released later this year, to help spread the word about efforts to save the ship.

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.