To report a vessel that is in a wrecked, derelict, or substantialiy dismantled condition, please contact the closest
Oil Spill Prevention and Response field office.
Ask to speak to the Derelict Vessel Coordinator. Helpful information would include:
- the exact location (latitude and longitude if possible)
- type and length of vessel
- known ownership information
- identifying numbers or vessel name
In 2005, House Bill 2096 granted Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson the authority to remove wrecked, derelict or substantially dismantled vessels or structures in Texas coastal waters.
The commissioner can have such vessels removed and may recover the costs of removal, storage, and disposal from the owner or operator of the vessel or structure. Any recovered costs are deposited in the coastal protection fund.
One of the more interesting and costly removal projects involved the Zeus, a huge, derelict Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit abandoned along the Freeport Ship Channel for 17 years. The U.S. Coast Guard determined that a hurricane or tornado could easily cause the Zeus to collapse, possibly blocking a wide portion of the channel and access to a dozen petrochemical plants.
Patterson ordered the rig removed in July 2007 and the 80th Legislature authorized $2 million for the job. In May 2008, the Zeus was brought down in a controlled demolition and its remains were cut up and either recycled or safely disposed of.
The derelict Zeus mobile offshore drilling unit seen from the other side of the Freeport Ship Channel.
If the Zeus had collapsed into the Freeport Ship Channel, 12 major petrochemical plants would have been cut off from ships like this tanker.
The Land Office oversaw the removal of 848,000 gallons of contaminated water that accumulated inside the Zeus.
Two of the Zeus’ three jack-up legs lie on the ground prior to being scrapped.
Years of neglect caused major corrosion on the Zeus, allowing rainwater to collect below deck.
Here’s what Land Office staffers found after hearing a hissing sound from a piece of the Zeus being cut up with a blow torch.
These five barn owls were rescued from the derelict Zeus while mere owlets, then raised by certified wildlife rehabilitators.
A Zeus barn owl just before its release into the wild.
A once proud and innovative mobile offshore drilling unit, the Zeus was parked in state waters in the Freeport Ship Channel and neglected for 17 years.
The Zeus was once considered a state-of-the-art drilling rig.
It’s hard to believe this deck once swarmed with offshore oil rig workers.
This spiral staircase has seen better days.