Update: Two Oil Spills In New Bedford Harbor On Thursday


Thanks to @MilesGrant for the video.

Update: As it turns out, there were two oil spills in New Bedford Harbor on Thursday, the diesel fuel spill that you see in the video above, and another on the other side of the harbor.

About a mile-long slick of dirty bilge oil that extends approximately from the Fairhaven Shipyard to the hurricane barrier. Fire Lt. Wally Therrien told The Standard-Times the oil was "likely pumped out by a vessel underway," and that there was "no evidence" that any boat in the shipyard was responsible.

The Coast Guard declared the bilge spill unrecoverable, and it was "allowed to disperse and evaporate."

Mayor Jon Mitchell explained that oil spills in the Harbor were on the decline, with today's spills being 4th and 5th:

“I hate to break the drama,” he said, adding that the fact that the city and other authorities take spill prevention very seriously contributes to the improved track record.

U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., also spoke at the press conference, praising the city's readiness. “This is an opportunity to see first hand what really is the result of training and coordination,” he said.

Lt. Derek M. Gibson, supervisor of the New Bedford office of the Marine Safety Division, said that the spill could have been accidental. “There are no traces of illicit activity,” he said.

It's possible that a transfer valve could have been left open or something caused the fuel system to back up and vent fuel into the water, he said.

Steib said that the spill probably wasn't intentional because it was clean fuel and “nobody is throwing money over the side.”

Officials said if the investigation finds someone to be responsible for the spill(s), that they "will be liable for the cost of cleanup and investigation costs, in addition to any penalties. Coming forward soon would mitigate any determination of punishment."

Sounds quite like "Move along now, there's nothing to see here."

As you can see in the video above, they've got plenty of paper towels on hand...so they've got it all under control there.

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Officials from the Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Protection appeared together with local officials at the press conference.
Crews this morning were working to clean up a “significant” oil spill near Pier 3, in New Bedford Harbor, MA according to the Fire Department.

The Boston Globe:

"Hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel leaked into New Bedford Harbor this morning, coating parts of the nation’s leading fishing port with a red-tinged sheen and leading authorities to a large effort to keep the spill from spreading.

By noon, public safety and environmental officials said the local fire department had contained the fuel with more than 1,000 feet of boom, which isolates the fuel on the surface of the water, and began deploying thousands of special pads to soak up the flammable liquid.

Between 100 and 300 gallons of diesel gathered in several pockets over about a half-mile from the Fish Island Bridge to Pier 3, said New Bedford Deputy Fire Chief Paul Coderre Jr.

He said the leak occurred sometime last night, but neither he nor other authorities had been able to identify the source of the leak."

“We may not know what caused this,” Coderre said, “In context for the harbor, this is a minor incident, we never shut down the harbor. We’re going on as usual.”

Coletta further noted that today's leak pales in comparison to what was considered a major spill in 2003, when about 98,000 gallons of oil destined for a nearby power plant leaked from a barge in Buzzards Bay.

Stay tuned for updates on this story, as there is much more to tell here.

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