Unified Command completes sulfur mustard contamination clean up

BOSTON — The Unified Command in New Bedford, Mass. announced today that all clean-up efforts for possible sulfur mustard contamination in New Bedford are complete, and there is no detectable sulfur mustard contamination at Sea Watch International or aboard the fishing vessel ESS PURSUIT.

The 145-foot clam dragger ESS PURSUIT dragged up munitions on June 6, which led to the confirmed exposure of one crew member and the possible contamination of 504,000 pounds of clams. The vessel was decontaminated and returned to the owner on June 12.

The final decontamination of the cold storage warehouse facility at Sea Watch International was completed on June 22, and the 180 clam cages were completed on June 25. The 17 transport trucks that took the clams for disposal in Texas and Arkansas will be decontaminated after the incineration of the clams, but this will not prohibit any operations at Sea Watch International, which has been authorized to use its cold storage facility.

The Unified Command, which consisted of representatives from the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, state of Massachusetts, and the City of New Bedford Fire Department, set its top priority on keeping the public safe from exposure to sulfur mustard.

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