Tugboat spills fuel in Brownsville Ship Channel

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – The Coast Guard is overseeing the cleanup of 500 gallons of diesel Monday that spilled from a tugboat in the Brownsville Ship Channel near the turning basin.

At approximately 3 a.m. Sunday morning, the Coast Guard received a report that an unknown amount of petroleum product had leaked near the turning basin. A Coast Guard pollution investigator determined that the tug Vickie Gates had spilled an estimated 500 gallons of red-dye diesel while conducting an internal transfer. The Coast Guard responded to assist with containing the pollution. Vickie Gates has accepted responsibility for the spill and has contracted an oil spill response team to clean up the diesel.

Texas General Land Office and the Coast Guard have personnel on scene. Sector Corpus Christi deployed pollution investigators and monitored clean-up efforts by air using an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HU-25 Falcon jet.

“The Coast Guard is on scene providing oversight of the cleanup to ensure we mitigate any harm to the environment,” said Lt. Patrick Marshall, a Coast Guard incident management division chief. “The fast response of the Coast Guard and the contracted oil spill response team will minimize impact on commerce and vessels transiting the channel.”

At this time there are no waterway closures as a result of this incident. Mariners in the area should monitor VHF marine channel 16 for updates. Mariners should use caution and transit the area slowly for their safety and the safety of the clean up crews.

By Professional Mariner Staff