Unified Command continues oil spill response on Arthur Kill waterway

Capt. Jason Tama, commander Sector New York and the Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, assesses the clean up operations of an oil spill in the Arthur Kill waterway in Staten Island, March 29, 2019. A unified command, including the U.S. Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, was established to coordinate response efforts. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Nicholette Vaughan)

Capt. Jason Tama, commander Coast Guard Sector New York and the Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, assesses the clean up operations of an oil spill in the Arthur Kill waterway in Staten Island, March 29, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Nicholette Vaughan)

NEW YORK – Unified Command members continue their response to an oil spill that occurred on the Arthur Kill waterway Thursday afternoon when a hole was detected in the hull of the Hapag-Lloyd container ship “Dublin Express” during unloading operations in the Global Marine New York Container Terminal. Fuel escaped from the approximately 15 square inch opening. The hole was sealed during the evening which stopped any further discharge. In addition, containment booms were promptly set out to prevent any additional spreading of the oil and to proactively protect nearby nature reserves.

Hapag-Lloyd, the vessel owner, is working closely in the Unified Command with the relevant authorities and interested parties to minimize the impact on people and the environment. The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, New Jersey Department Environmental Protection (NJ DEP), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), and Gallagher Marine Systems.

After initially closing the waterway to navigable vessel traffic, the Captain of the Port re-opened the waterway just before 1 p.m. today, with a slow bell requiring maritime traffic moving through the waterway with no wake.

Crews are on scene assessing conditions and continue pollution response and cleanup measures in order to ensure environmental safety and facilitate maritime commerce.

The Unified Command is advising the public to stay clear of cleanup operations in the waterway.

Air assets from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City and the New York Police Department Aviation unit both completed overflights earlier today to assess the situation from the air.

Commercial oil spill recovery organizations are also on scene as part of the response effort.

At present, the Unified Command has deployed 60 responders, 10 vessels, four skimmers, two vacuum trucks, two vacuum trailers for recovered oil product, and 15,000 feet of containment boom in response to the incident.

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