|RELEASE NO: D1S 52-98
September 5, 1998
NEW YORK — The Coast Guard is responding to an oil and gasoline spill, which resulted when the 456 foot barge Ocean States ran aground in the lower East River in the vicinity of 17th St., Manhattan and Newtown Creek, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New York, opened up the East River at about 10:30 a.m. today after the river had been closed to vessel traffic between the Williamsburg Bridge to 59th Street Bridge. There are currently no restrictions to vessel traffic.
The Ocean States is securely moored at Con Edison at North 1st Ave. and Kent Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. The Coast Guard is awaiting a lightering plan to remove the oil and gasoline from the damaged cargo holds. Commercial divers will survey the barge below its hull. The extent and impact of the spill are being evaluated but it appears to be minor at this time. Helicopter over flights and shoreline searches could not find any pockets of oil.
The tugboat Honour was east bound in the East River with the loaded oil and gasoline barge carrying about 3.5 million gallons of gasoline and about 3.9 million gallons of No. 2 heating oil when it ran aground at about 3:15 a.m.
The Coast Guard immediately responded by dispatching personnel on scene to monitor the situation and movement of the damaged barge.
The New York City Fire Department has conducted explosive level monitoring and readings have been below levels of concern. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is monitoring for benzene levels concentration.
Lighter refined products such as gasoline and diesel typically have very high evaporation rates and do not tend to create persistent slicks. When spilled, the oil spreads quickly into thin films often forming patches of rainbow and silver sheens. These oils don't usually form a stable emulsion and, as a result, don't result in a heavy or sticky residual to clean up.
The Honour and the Ocean States are owned and operated by Maritrans, a marine transportation company based in Philadelphia. They have hired local response contractors for cleanup and salvage efforts.