Barge spills fuel after grounding in Maine river

The following is the text of a news report from the Boothbay Register:

(WALPOLE, Maine) — Area emergency and fire crews were working Friday to contain a reported 100 gallon diesel oil spill in the Damariscotta River off the coast of Bristol, near Mook Sea Farm in Walpole.

At approximately 8 a.m. a crane barge that had been tethered to a dock collided with rocks and ice on the shore near Mook Sea Farm and began spilling diesel and oil into the Damariscotta River.

The Round Pond Marine barge appeared to have been loosed from a dock at the farm. The barge had been used to repair the dock. It was set adrift and came to rest on rocks along the shore, which punctured the boat and caused the spill.

Lincoln County Hazmat equipment and personnel were at the scene and pads and booms were in place as of 10:45 a.m. By 11:30 a.m. more booms were needed but crews had secured the spill. Booms had been installed around the boat and further upriver to protect a nearby aquaculture farm. Leeman said that because of the time and tide when the ship's tank ruptured the aquaculture site would likely be unaffected.

Bristol Fire Chief Paul Leeman said it appeared the ship had a puncture that was leaking diesel. By 11 a.m. most of the fuel was contained but a secondary spill of oil from the engine was drawing most of the focus from crews.

Leeman said the tide and lack of wind actually helped the cause, as the oil was largely contained to the area around the dock.

Colby & Gale fuel and propane company arrived to suck the fuel out to the barge's tank to prevent it from further leaking.

A worker from the Augusta Department of Environmental Protection was called to the scene and Maine Emergency Management Agency had been notified, dispatchers at Lincoln County Communications report.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, Boothbay, Alna, Damariscotta and Newcastle fire departments were on hand at the site.

By Professional Mariner Staff