Fishing Boat Ordered to Return to Port After Exposure to Hazardous Substance

BOSTON – The Coast Guard has issued a captain of the port order Monday to the fishing vessel ESS PURSUIT to return to port after two of their crewmembers were taken to a local hospital and treated for symptoms of exposure to a hazardous/chemical substance.

The two crewmembers were taken by EMS to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Mass. One is expected to be released this afternoon and the other was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital for further treatment. The remaining four crewmembers and emergency responders are symptom-free.

The Coast Guard is working with the State of Massachusetts and U.S. Public Health Service to begin the decontamination process of the fishing vessel and the four remaining crewmembers.

National Marine Fisheries Service and the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture have been notified in order to determine if the catch that was offloaded Monday morning was contaminated. The catch has been isolated awaiting further analysis.

The Coast Guard will work closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to ensure the area south of Long Island, where the hazardous containers were found, is clearly marked.

The F/V ESS PURSUIT notified local EMS that two crewmembers were experiencing symptoms of blistering and difficulty breathing. The fishing vessel was dredging for clams in Hudson Canyon when they discovered 10 canisters, one of which broke open exposing two crewmembers. The fishing vessel anchored south of New Bedford this afternoon to be surveyed and decontaminated if necessary.

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