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1st District Northeast Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

August 31, 2013


U.S. Coast Guard

Contact: 1st District Public Affairs

Email: D1publicaffairs@uscg.mil

Office: (617) 223-8515

UPDATE - Coast Guard responds to sheen in New Bedford Harbor

BOSTON — The investigation into the source of the diesel fuel spill into New Bedford Harbor continues today as U.S. Coast Guard crews, along with New Bedford, Mass., port officials, state emergency responders and a private cleanup contractor concluded diesel-fuel sheen clean-up efforts in New Bedford Harbor on Friday afternoon.

Investigators from the Coast Guard and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection continue to inspect vessels in the harbor, review surveillance video taken in the area at the time of the spill and test samples of the fuel recovered to determine the origins of the spill. The authorities are looking for help from the public; anyone with information about the source of the spill can contact the MassDEP emergency spill number at: 1-888-304-1133. Information provided to this line will be kept confidential.

"This was a significant fuel spill and we have not yet identified who is responsible for it. I urge the responsible party to do the honorable thing and report it to us immediately. Failure to do so will likely increase the penalty when we find you. And we will," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "I also want to thank local, state and federal emergency responders for their excellent and professional work in assessing the spill and getting it cleaned up quickly."

The Coast Guard received a report of a diesel-fuel sheen in New Bedford Harbor in the vicinity of Fish Island Bridge at approximately 8 a.m., Thursday.

Response teams deployed more than 150 feet of boom to contain the spilled fuel and resulting sheen, and used absorbent pads to target specific areas for cleanup, with a focus on the Pier 3 area along the New Bedford shoreline. Following the spill cleanup, a revised spill volume estimate indicates that more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel was recovered from harbor waters since early Thursday.

Responding were crews from:

- U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment New Bedford
- MassDEP Emergency Response Unit
- New Bedford Fire Department

The Coast Guard and local state agencies worked with Frank Corp. of New Bedford, an oil spill response contractor, during the two-day clean up efforts to limit any pollution impact to the environment. There were no reports of any spill impact on birds, fish or other species within the harbor ecosystem.

In an average year, the Coast Guard responds to 250 reports of pollution to waterways in the northeastern United States.

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