2,000 gallons of leaked diesel fuel cleaned from Government Cut

By CARLI TEPROFF | The Miami Herald | Published: April 17, 2014

From the air, sea and shore, members of the Coast Guard kept watch over Government Cut Wednesday, where nearly 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from a tug boat’s ruptured tank the night before.

Using about 950-feet of sorbent boom to create a floating, absorbent barrier near Port Miami, Coast Guard crew members worked with an oil-spill response organization to stop the thin-liquid — diesel fuel is not nearly as thick as crude oil — from spreading.

So far it has worked, Coast Guard Cmdr. Darren Caprara said.

“We have been successful in protecting the key port areas, and at this point in time most of the diesel fuel has either been collected or evaporated,” he said.

The tug boat, which is working with a Government Cut dredging project done by the Army Corps of Engineers, reported the leak at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Initially, the crew told the Coast Guard about 100 gallons had leaked from the 7,800-gallon tank into the water below.

A nearby commercial salvage boat responded to the leaky tug, which was about a half mile from the jetties, and was able to use boom to initially contain the fuel, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss. The tug boat owner, Dann Ocean Towing, took “aggressive measures,” said Caprara and hired SWS Environment, which is trained to handle oil spills.

“They took the necessary actions to mitigate their own spill,” Caprara said. Company representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Doss said judging by the size of the tank and how much fuel was missing, the Coast Guard estimated that about 2,000 gallons leaked into the Cut. The diesel, however, is thin and evaporates in the sun.

With the Coast Guard coordinating the efforts, boom, absorbent pads and mother nature all worked together to lessen the impact.

“There is no evidence of any impact to the environment,” Caprara said. By Wednesday night, most of the oil had disappeared.

Doss said the Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area for an oil sheen until there is no evidence of the spill. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard will investigate the rupture’s cause.

“There is no ideal situation for a pollution incident, but we are fortunate that with this type of product it will evaporate,” Doss said.


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