Up to 2,100 gallons of fuel oil entered the Lower Mississippi River near Kenner, La., following a spill that occurred during bunkering operations, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The Singapore-flagged tanker Hafnia Rhine was loading fuel at about 1720 on July 28 in the Ama Anchorage at mile marker 115 when the discharge occurred. Crew on the ship ultimately secured the fuel, which fouled 50 to 60 barges moored nearby.
“The incident happened during a fueling evolution between the Hafnia Rhine and the bunker barge PBL 3010 adjoined by the motor vessel Justice,” Coast Guard spokesman Gabriel Wisdom said in an email.
The Coast Guard is investigating the incident and did not share a cause. “Information on the source of the discharge will not be released (so as) to not interfere with the investigation,” Wisdom said.
The 751-foot Hafnia Rhine is owned by BW Aldrich Pte. and operated by Hafnia Pools Pte., both based in Singapore. The company confirmed the incident happened during bunkering but did not share additional details.
“When the alarm was raised, there was an emergency stop on all bunkering operations,” Hafnia said in a press release issued a few days after the incident. “The crew immediately activated the Vessel Response Plan to limit any further loss of fuel. Regrettably, an undetermined amount spilled onto the deck, with a quantity lost overboard into the water.”
Kirby Inland Marine operated the towboat Justice and barge PBL 3010. A spokesman for the Houston-based company did not respond to an inquiry.
The Coast Guard worked with Hafnia Rhine’s owner and manager to address the spill. The National Response Corp. and Environmental Safety and Health Consulting Services led response efforts. Cleanup efforts continued into mid-August.
Those two organizations placed 2,700 feet of containment boom and 3,330 feet of sorbent boom, as well as other sorbents, to collect fuel from the water. The Coast Guard said there were no reported impacts to wildlife.