A tugboat maneuvering a barge hit a pier Saturday at the International-Matex Tank Terminal on the west side of New York Harbor at Bayonne, N.J., causing a small oil spill that was quickly contained with booms.
The real excitement came the next morning, when a Coast Guard air crew in an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Atlantic City air station, who were assisting spill responders on the water, smelled smoke in their aircraft. The pilots set down safely on a nearby Staten Island golf course, and the fumes turned out to be from a faulty alternator.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New York got the call around 10 p.m. Saturday from IMTT workers that there had been an allision between a tug and a fuel terminal pier. Tidal currents had been strong in the harbor and Kill Van Kull, the channel between Bayonne and Staten Island, since Friday’s full moon.
Workers shut off flow to a fueling station on the pier, and a Coast Guard pollution response team set out to investigate. The oil was secured around IMTT’s terminal and contractors worked to recover the oil, estimated by the Coast Guard at less than 1,000 gallons. The helicopter incident happened just about 12 hours later on Sunday morning, and the aircraft took off from the Richmond County Country Club after repairs.