1950s-Era Ocean Liner Sinking Into Delta, Leaking Oil & Fuel


  • A 293-foot ocean liner built in 1955, began sinking into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on May 22, 2024, resulting in an enormous discharge of diesel fuel and oil into the waterway.
  • According to San Joaquin County sheriff’s officers, the ship suffered a hole, allowing water to enter and fuel to spill at Empire Tract and Eight Mile roads in the Little Potato Slough region.

Authorities in San Joaquin County have stepped up response to a boat leaking fuel into a Delta waterway, reports Marine Insight.

Sinking 1955-era Ocean Liner leaks fuel and oil

A unified command with representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the city of Stockton has been formed to respond to the sinking vessel in Little Potato Slough near Stockton.

The sinking ship in the Delta waterway was found leaking fuel and oil into the body of water Wednesday, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office first announced.

A 293-foot ocean liner ship made in 1955, suffered a hole and began taking on water, causing it to leak diesel fuel and oil into the Delta at Empire Tract and Eight Mile roads in Little Potato Slough. Initially, the sheriff’s boating safety unit and ground units were at the scene attempting to contain the spill, but eventually more agencies arrived to help.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday night, a report to the California Office of Emergency Services on Wednesday indicated the ship began to sink in 13 feet of water and discharge pollution, and an oil seen was seen near the vessel.

Authorities employed a containment boom around the vessel and Stockton’s drinking water intake pump station, the Coast Guard said. Additional mooring lines have also been attached to the vessel to ensure stability. An investigation into the source of the leak and the amount of discharge is ongoing.

Over the next several days, crews will work to maintain the containment boom, recover pollution, and conduct dive surveys to assess the vessel,” said a spokesperson for the Coast Guard.

Originally, the ship was intended to be used for cruise voyages. However, after several different changes of owners, the ship was bought by Chris Wilson, who found it on a Craigslist ad.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Wilson said, “I just heard the news about the Aurora. Seems like a very bad day for this beautiful little liner.”

He said he spent 15 years of his life working on the Aurora to keep her afloat. “However due to the overwhelming amount of bad players I decided to remove myself from this project last October and pass along my interest in the vessel to someone who felt they could move the project forward and deal with the political side of this adventure,” Wilson said in the post.

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Source: Marine Insight