Coast Guard responds to oil spill near Casco Bay Bridge

PORTLAND, Maine – The Coast Guard and Portland Fire Department are responding to an oil spill in the Fore River after a pilot boat operator contacted the Coast Guard at 8:52 p.m., reporting a strong odor of heavy oil in the water.

Station South Portland launched a 47-foot rescue boat and located a sheen approximately 10 feet wide by 300 feet long of heavy, black oil under the Casco Bay Bridge.

The source and volume of the oil is unknown at this time. Clean Harbors Environmental Services dispatched a vessel to contain and clean up the oil as much as possible.

“We will err on the side of over-reacting to this spill until we are certain of the source and quantity of oil spilled,” said Capt. Jim McPherson, commander of Sector Northern New England. “We have contacted all the fuel facilities in the harbor and dispatched Coast Guard marine investigators.”

In addition, Air Station Cape Cod launched a Jayhawk helicopter equipped with a spot light and infrared radar, which will help responders map and track the oil spill.

The Coast Guard also notified the National Response Center and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“Protecting the marine environment is one of our most important Coast Guard missions,” said McPherson. ” I am extremely pleased with the federal, state and local response at this early stage of determining the scope of this mystery spill.”

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