A Coast Guard team contained a small oil spill from a moored tugboat that partially sank near Fort Eustis, Va., last weekend, as officials coordinated efforts to remove potential fuel from the stranded vessel.

A passing tug captain contacted watchstanders Saturday at the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads command center to advise them that the 100' tug Bourne was partially submerged on Skiffes Creek, north of Fort Eustis.

A Coast Guard pollution response team and the Newport News Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene to assess the situation and deploy boom Saturday night. Joined by the state Department of Emergency Management, the responders deployed sorbent pads and more boom Saturday and Sunday.

Pollution responders adjust absorbent pads around the site of the partially submerged tugboat Bourne on Skiffes Creek in Newport News, Virginia, Jan. 22, 2018. Coast Guard photo.

Pollution responders adjust absorbent pads around the site of the partially submerged tug Bourne on Skiffes Creek in Newport News, Va., on Jan. 22. Coast Guard photo.

It was estimated the Bourne discharged five to 10 gals. of engine oil, and could have a fuel capacity of 21,000 gals. But it was unknown how much fuel was actually on board and the Coast Guard was unable to contact the vessel owners. The national Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was tapped to pay for the response. Coast Guard officials said Wednesday they had contracted with an oil spill response organization to conduct the cleanup operation, including removing remaining oil and fuel in the tug's tanks.

The Coast Guard issued a safety marine information broadcast to encourage mariners to remain clear of Skiffes Creek until operations have been completed.

“We will thoroughly monitor cleanup operations,” said Lt. (j.g.) Stasia Ellis, a marine environmental response chief at Sector Hampton Roads. “The Coast Guard’s main concern is ensuring minimal impact to the environment and maximum safety to the local boating community.”


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