Tugboat runs aground in Buzzards Bay; gear oil spills after propulsion drive damaged

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(BOSTON) – A unified team of federal, state and port partners are responding to an oil sheen in Buzzards Bay after a tugboat grounded near the Stony Point Dyke, Wareham, Mass., at midnight March 21.

Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, boat crews from Station Cape Cod Canal, and an aircrew from Air Station Cape Cod alongside state and local partners are assessing and responding to oil sheens left after the tug Justice grounded off Stony Point Dyke in Wareham, Mass., at 12:01 March 21.

Inspectors have confirmed that no fuel oil from the tug Justice leaked into Buzzards Bay, and that a potential 630 gallons of gear oil discharged into the water after the grounding.  Gear oil is more persistent than fuel oil and response personnel are already looking to quickly clean up any pockets of oil found.

Drug and alcohol testing was administered to the tug's crew and completed; results of the tests pend.

The sheen is reported to be gear oil from the tugboat’s propulsion drive, which was damaged in the grounding.

In total, the tug Justice can hold up to 38,000 gallons of fuel oil and approximately 630 gallons of gear oil.

A unified command comprised of Coast Guard, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and representatives of Wareham and Bourne are working together to mitigate any impact from the incident.

The tug Justice is owned by Reinauer Transportation Companies, LLC from Staten Island, N.Y.  The owner has reported that the damaged engine unit has been located and a recovery effort to remove it from the waterway is underway.

The Army Corps of Engineers have reopened the Canal, which was closed for a time early this morning.

By Professional Mariner Staff