Authorities believe up to 100,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil were released by the Hapag-Lloyd containership Dublin Express during its transit along the East Coast to New York in late March, the Unified Command, which consists of state and federal agencies and the responsible party established to coordinate cleanup efforts, said Saturday.
The Unified Command said about 35,000 gallons of oily water had been recovered in the Arthur Kill Waterway, where the spill was first reported occurring near the Goethal Bridge to the Coast Guard Sector New York on March 31. The fuel escaped from a 15-square-inch opening found in the hull of the 4,120-TEU containership during unloading operations at Staten Island’s Global Marine New York Terminal. The hole was sealed that evening, Hapag-Lloyd said.
Cleanup efforts will continue until all impacted areas of the waterway are fully restored.
Members of the Unified Command Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique teams located on March 31 a 400-yard-by-2-foot band of tar balls at Jacob Riis Park in Queens. The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory completed fingerprints on the tar balls and verified the recovered oil matched the Dublin Express as the source, the Unified Command said last Wednesday.
“This multiagency response moved quickly and effectively to ensure the public and the environment are protected,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos in a statement. “DEC thanks the U.S. Coast Guard and our state and local partners for coordinating the efforts to identify and clean up the spill impacts we’ve seen thus far, and we will continue to monitor the coast and encourage anyone who observes any potential oil products from this spill to contact the command center immediately to assist in our investigation.”
The Dublin Express, which was sailing from Port Everglades to New York, was cleared by the Coast Guard Thursday to depart from the New York Container Terminal following the completion of repairs and cleaning of the vessel. The German-flag ship called Charleston, S.C. on Sunday and is scheduled to arrive in Cartagena, Colombia, on Thursday, according to VesselFinder.com.