The company supplied the 170 foot vessel , which was chartered by the non-profit environmental organization, Oceana, from owners Windstor Holding Inc of Ft Lauderdale, Florida, with the loading of heavy equipment including 40 anchors and anchor wire, fuel, and inflatable buoys. The Latitude, referred to as an expedition displacement ship, is capable of sailing in both shallow and deep waters and is adapted to serve as a diving platform.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service also supplied personnel including welders and technicians and assisted with the embarkation of ten scientists who were heading to the scene. The team, which set off at the end of August, was specifically tasked with studying the size and movement of the underwater oil plume and the effects it has had on wildlife.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service co-ordinated the logistics for a two-hour media event that was held on board the ship, attended by Hollywood celebrities Morgan Freeman, and Ted Danson.
Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on protecting the oceans. The expedition has been working over the past two months to assess the long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), which Wilhelmsen has assisted in loading, specialized divers and satellite tags to investigate the effects the oil has had on coral, fish, shark and other marine species. Oceana is also documenting areas that may be in danger if the oil is captured by sea currents and transported towards southern Florida or if another oil spill occurs in this area in the future. To date, an estimated 200 million gallons of oil has spilled into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010.
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