Coast Guard responds to diesel discharge from semi-submerged tugboat

Diesel spill resulting from the semi-submerged tugboat Miss Bonnie, Nov. 18, 2019, in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, which allided with the Old Bonner Bridge on Nov. 17, 2019. The cause of the allision is currently under investigation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet)

Diesel spill resulting from the semi-submerged tugboat Miss Bonnie, Nov. 18, 2019, in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, which allided with the Old Bonner Bridge on Nov. 17, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet)

OREGON INLET, N.C. — The Coast Guard is responding to a discharge of diesel from a semi-submerged tugboat in the vicinity of the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet, Monday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received the report of a sheen by a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet at approximately 10:00 a.m., which was reported to be leaking from the tugboat Miss Bonnie.

The tugboat allided with the Old Bonner Bridge on Nov. 17, 2019, at 11:09 a.m.


The maximum potential for the discharge is 6,000 gallons; however, it is estimated 3,000 gallons were onboard. The responsible party has deployed 200 feet of sorbent boom and 175 feet of containment boom around the vessel.

The responsible party is scheduled to deploy secondary ocean boom tomorrow, as well as conduct salvage operations once on-scene weather permits.

There have been no reports of impacts to wildlife at this time. The channel currently remains open to all vessel traffic.

The Coast Guard is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator to identify the most likely trajectory of the discharged diesel to determine necessary mitigation strategies for the preventative impact to environmentally sensitive areas.

“Protecting the marine environment is a top priority for the Coast Guard,” said Capt. Bion Stewart, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “We are overseeing the responsible party’s actions to mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the discharge and to remove the vessel when it is safe to do so.”

Involved in the response are:

  • Coast Guard Sector North Carolina
  • Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Nags Head
  • Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet
  • PCL Construction
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • National Parks Service

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.


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