Coast Guard responds to diesel fuel spill after fishing vessel sinks in Waiska Bay

9th Coast Guard District NewsBAY MILLS, Mich. — Clean up operations are underway Thursday evening, as members of Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., and the Bay Mills Indian Community work together to ensure the containment and clean up of about 100 gallons of diesel fuel from the fishing vessel H.W. Hocks, which sank in Waiska Bay.

Wednesday, at about 6:30 p.m., the Bay Mills Tribal fishing vessel H.W. Hocks was reported sunk and the cause of a discharge of diesel fuel into the water.

Pollution investigators from Sector Sault Sainte Marie arrived on scene early Thursday morning along with Bay Mills Indian Community response personnel and equipment. BMIC personnel were able to expeditiously deploy boom and other oil spill response equipment to contain the spill.

The Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, an organization established by BMIC and four other tribes, provided BMIC with spill response equipment that was obtained through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In September, CORA’s environment and conservation staff arranged a spill response training session with Coast Guard personnel aimed at enhancing the readiness of response equipment for a situation of this type.

“This collaborative response demonstrates our shared commitment to protecting the waters of the Great Lakes, a precious resource,” said Lt. j.g. Adam Saurin, Sector Sault Sainte Marie public affairs officer.

“Environmental stewardship cannot be one agency’s job — it’s truly a team effort.”

The cause of the H.W. Hocks’ sinking is currently under investigation and is unknown at this time. The Coast Guard advises that people remain clear of the salvage area until cleanup and salvage operations have concluded.

Coast Guard and BMIC personnel will continue to work together to mitigate the effects of the spill.

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