Coast Guard Responds to Diesel Fuel Spill in St. Mary’s River

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Ste. Marie is currently responding to a diesel fuel oil spill in the Middle Neebish channel of the St. Mary’s River.

Earlier this morning, the JOYCE L. VANEKENVORT made notification to the Coast Guard of discharging an estimated 200-300 gallons of diesel fuel into the St. Marys River, during its up-bound transit to Marquette, MI to deliver a load of limestone. The fuel spill is the result of an overflow that occurred after the 835-foot integrated tug and barge completed an internal fuel transfer, near Light 39 in the Middle Neebish channel. Shortly after the transfer, crew members noticed fuel on deck. After further investigation, they determined that there was a discharge into the waterway. The vessel is currently anchored at the Lake Nicolet anchorage.

A Coast Guard pollution response trailer, 2 Station Sault small boats, 1 trailerd skiff, and helicopter have been dispatched to the Neebish Island area, in response to the fuel oil spill.

The Coast Guard will coordinate with the responsible party, local and state entities and the Canadian authorities to mitigate any environmental concerns associated with the spill.

Anyone that has experienced property damage directly or indirectly due to the spill may contact the following number to request a claim for damages: 906-466-9959.

Residents that utilize the St. Mary’s River for a source of water for drinking or other uses are advised that the water may be contaminated and are advised to report any water contamination to the following number: Chippewa County Environmental Health Department 906-635-3620 or 906-635-3622.

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