Severe weather sweeps through diesel spill area

HOUSTON- A severe weather front is moving through the Gulf of Mexico and will disperse the diesel fuel spill located approximately 140 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas.

An over flight conducted by a Coast Guard Falcon Jet crew from Air Station Corpus Christi at approximately 11 a.m. detected no visible pollution. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator, Charlie Henry, any spilled diesel fuel from the Grady Fagan would be carried in a northerly direction by strong winds and six to eight foot seas. The spill is not expect to persist as a surface slick for more than a few hours.

The Grady Fagan, a 193-ft offshore supply ship, is en route to Galveston. The crew has plugged the holes above the waterline and continues to transfer the diesel fuel from the damaged tank.

At 4:28 a.m. a watchstander at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit received a call from the master of the Grady Fagan. The master reported that the ship hit the rig Ocean Star as it was preparing to offload supplies. The Grady Fagan was holed below the waterline in its starboard fuel tank; the collision also caused a 2-inch gash above the waterline. The rig Ocean Star reported no damage from the incident.

It is unknown how much diesel fuel leaked from the ship. The fuel tank held 9,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The owner of the Grady Fagan has hired Marine Spill Response Corp to clean up the spill. The MSRC ship Texas Responder is standing by to respond.

A unified command post has been established at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Galveston in response to the spill. Agencies responding are the Coast Guard, NOAA, MSRC and Texas General Land Office. The cause of the spill is under investigation.

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