Fuel Oil Discharge on Lower Mississippi River, Cleanup Operations Complete

By MarEx 2012-04-11 09:49:40

The Coast Guard, along with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Plaquemines Parish, completed cleanup operations on the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 84, Tuesday, following a fuel oil discharge.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received notification at 10:08 p.m., Monday, reporting that the 803-foot tanker vessel, Overseas Beryl, was discharging No. 6 heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River following vessel refueling operations at Nine Mile Anchorage. A Coast Guard pollution response team from Sector New Orleans arrived at the vessel and discovered fuel oil discharging from a ballast water overboard discharge pipe and into the water. The pipe was plugged at approximately 4 a.m., Tuesday, which stopped the flow of oil.

An overflight assessment conducted this morning by a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew reported light sheening from mile marker 40 to mile marker 50. An overflight this afternoon by the responsible party, Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., reported no further sheen coming from the source, and another overflight by OSG reported no visible sheen coming from the site or down the river.

Sector New Orleans pollution responders conducted shoreline assessments and reported no impact.

Marine Spill Response Corporation was hired as the oil spill response organization, and O'Brien's Response Management as the spill management team for OSG, Inc.. Two skimming vessels, response boats and personnel from U.S. Environmental Services, Clean Gulf Associates and MSRC conducted cleanup operations and deployed boom to protect sensitive areas. Responders installed protective boom at Plaquemines Parish water intakes, and the parish secured the intakes as a precautionary measure.

The response cleanup went very quickly as a result of the combination of a very slow discharge and a very fast river current. The discharge was estimated at a total of 2,400 gallons, flowwing at a rate of three gallons per minute and the river running at approximately 4.5 million gallons per minute.

"Outstanding cooperation and teamwork between the Coast Guard, state, parish and the commercial responders allowed this case to run very smoothly and end without any environmental impacts," said Capt. Pete Gautier, the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator.

There were no injuries or impacts to wildlife reported.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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Source: United States Coast Guard