On Sunday January 21, Woods Hole citizens reported an oil spill in Woods Hole, visible at the Town Dock on Great Harbor next to the NOAA aquarium. Coast Guard, Mass DEP and other first responders jumped to attention, containing the spill with absorbent cotton booms that kept the slick from blowing.
Boats circled the harbor all night protecting the boomed area, and the situation was improved by quiet, calm weather which allowed for better containment. Crews from Clean Harbors worked for the next several days with cotton batting and other absorbent materials to remove the spill and rescue affected wildlife. Truckloads of materials were hauled on and off over the course of several days until the water was clean again.
On January 25th, a press conference was held at WHOI’s Redfield Auditorium, the room filled with concerned citizens, scientists, responders and journalists. The cause of the spill had not yet been identified, but investigators said that analysis of the diesel bilge oil had them close to announcing a culprit. If you are interested in a video of this press conference, please check out this live post from the Woods Hole Inn Facebook page.
Coast Guard reported at this press conference that over 20 sea birds had been found on the shoreline dead, but that due to a recent cold snap it was not possible to say how many were killed by exposure to the oily debris.
On January 30th, the Coast Guard released news that the spill was caused a tug boat Ocean King owned by Patriot Marine. Charges for the rescue and clean up efforts, as well as possible penalties and fines for not self-reporting the spill will be issued to Patriot Marine. Ocean King is a 95 foot tug built in 1950 — see her in her 70 year old glory, tied up at the Woods Hole dock here.
Coast Guard ensign Nathan Mendes led the spill clean up efforts. Stationed right here in Woods Hole, our community is lucky to have these brave men and women at the ready to help with this sort of crisis. A recent trip down to the Woods Hole waterfront shows no sign of the impact of this event, thanks to the readiness and hard work of crews.
Bringing you this news live from Woods Hole, thanks to the citizen journalists of the Woods Hole Inn.