Coast Guard continues fuel spill investigation in New Bedford, Mass.

BOSTON — The Coast Guard continues to investigate a diesel fuel spill in the New Bedford, Mass., inner harbor Monday, Dec. 14, 2009.

“Coast Guard investigators are working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to identify the source of the spill,” said Capt. Raymond Perry, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. “Although most of the sheen can not be recovered and is dissipating quickly through natural processes, the Coast Guard has opened the Pollution Fund, a federal fund set aside to cleanup oil spills, to recover the few patches that are recoverable.”

The Coast Guard contracted Frank Corp. Environmental Services to clean up a small patch of fuel about 50 yards along the shoreline in Fairhaven, Mass., that was deemed recoverable.

The clean-up crew arrived on scene around 1:50 p.m., and have completed the clean up of recoverable fuel. Absorbent pads will be left in the area overnight.

Heavy sheening covered much of the harbor and part of an area outside the hurricane barrier Sunday, but has dissipated to light sheening Monday through wave action and evaporation.

Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Office Providence are working with local New Bedford facilities and ships that transited the area, collecting samples to try and determine where the spill originated. Local partners in the investigation include Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Fairhaven Harbor Master.

A second over flight was performed by a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft Monday to gain an updated status of the sheening.

Coast Guard officials are asking TriState Bird Rescue to assess the potential impact on waterfowl in the area.

The initial report of the spill was made to Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England at 11:25 a.m., Sunday and investigators were dispatched to the scene, as well as a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft to assess the overall situation.

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