Coast Guard responds to major marine casualty near Puerto Rico

A sheen appears, Dec. 24, 2020, south of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The Proassist III reportedly had onboard 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel when it began taking on water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A sheen appears, Dec. 24, 2020, south of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard responded to a marine casualty Thursday south of Puerto Rico.

Sector San Juan watchstanders received a mayday call from the 112-foot tugboat Proassist III crew stating they were taking on water with three people aboard approximately two miles south of Yabucoa Harbor, Puerto Rico.

A good Samaritan embarked the three people from the Proassist III and took them ashore with no reported injuries.

The tug is reported to have approximately 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew overflew the position Friday and observed a sheen beginning approximately .25 miles east of Yabucoa and extends 1.5 miles to the southwest with a width of 1.5 miles.

Sector San Juan Incident Management Division (IMD) personnel are working with the owner to develop a salvage plan and removal of all diesel fuel from the vessel.

Vessel owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their vessels in order to provide the safest removal method possible for the public and environment.

To report pollution, please contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

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