Coast Guard responds to diesel spill in Norfolk, Va.

NORFOLK, Va. – The Coast Guard is responding to a diesel spill in the Elizabeth River near downtown Norfolk today from the moored research vessel, Lake Explorer II, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Operation Base.

The captain of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 90-foot vessel notified the National Response Center and Coast Guard watchstanders between 6-7 a.m. to tell them about the vessel’s discharge. The Coast Guard deployed two response boat crews from Station Portsmouth, Va., a helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and Coast Guard investigators. The Norfolk Fire Department, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and an oil spill response organization hired by the EPA are also responding to the spill.

Containment boom and absorbent pads were deployed and ship personnel secured the spill’s source. Investigators estimate the spill is 1,400 gallons. Rainbow sheens can be seen along the Elizabeth River between the Rude and the USS Wisconsin and down to Scotts Creek, which is approximately two miles.

The cause of the spill is under investigation. Until recently the vessel was owned by NOAA and was named Rude, the new name of the vessel is not yet painted on the vessel.

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