Coast Guard, partners find no additional oil in Fore River

PORTLAND, Maine – The Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies found no additional oil in the Fore River near the Casco Bay Bridge, and authorities concluded the oil that was found dissipated overnight after a helicopter search of the area this morning showed no sign of the sheen.

A pilot boat operator called the Coast Guard at 8:52 p.m., Friday after detecting a heavy, black crude oil in the river.

The Coast Guard coordinated a response by air, land and sea overnight, to locate the source of the spill and contain it as much as possible. The source of the spill is unknown, but Coast Guard personnel are investigating and collected samples of the oil.

“It was difficult last night trying to figure out how big a spill this was,” said Capt. Jim McPherson, commander of Sector Northern New England. “We had vessels underway all night trying to find the source of the spill. The good news is the spill has broken up and dissipated, and we have determined that there is no threat of additional oil leaking into the river.”

Two Coast Guard boats, a Portland Fire Department vessel and a Maine Marine Patrol vessel conducted an extensive search overnight. The Portland and South Portland fire departments also responded on shore, and the Coast Guard contacted facilities along the Fore River from which the oil may have originated. The Coast Guard contracted with Clean Harbors Inc., which also dispatched a vessel to assist in tracking down and containing the spill.
“We have consulted with Portland Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne and South Portland Fire Chief Kevin Guimond, who assisted us throughout the case, along with other federal, state and local agencies,” McPherson added. “The coordination and cooperation of the response was well organized and something the Portland maritime community can be proud of. We will continue to work with our response and industry port partners to determine the source of the spill.”

The weather is expected to worsen this afternoon and the Coast Guard vessels have been released from the case.

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