USCG, Clean Harbors remove pollution threat from vessel in San Juan Harbor
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Incident Management Division personnel completed operations Thursday to remove oil and fuel products from an abandoned sports fishing vessel that threatened to spill into San Juan Harbor, the USCG said in its news release.
Following a report from a good Samaritan days earlier, IMD response personnel got on scene and confirmed oil sheening coming from a 54-foot Bertram, tied to a concrete pier, that was sinking just off the San Juan Marina and Club Nautico.
Despite multiple efforts from IMD personnel to identify and contact the owner of this vessel, the information remains unknown.
“Throughout the week we monitored and deliberated the potential hazard the contents of this vessel could pose to the area if it sank, since the vessel could possibly carry 1,500 gallons of fuel onboard along with any other potential hazardous materials,” said Cmdr. Juan Hernandez, Sector San Juan Incident Management Division chief. “Based on the amount of fuel and oily water in the vessel and its location being a well-known and frequently transited recreational boating site, we made the decision to federalize the case to eliminate any potential threat or harm to the environment and recreational boaters in the area.”
Coast Guard IMD personnel notified local and federal stakeholders including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the local Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and Environmental Quality Board and sent out a Section 7 consultation. The Federal On-Scene Coordinator requested the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund be open, while Clean Harbors was contracted as the Oil Spill Response Organization that provided the specialized personnel and equipment to remove any oil, fuel and potential hazardous materials from the vessel.
“Approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel and 1,200 gallons of oily water waste were removed from this vessel, which otherwise would have been released and caused a detrimental effect to environment and impacted over 100 boats in the San Juan Marina and Club Nautico,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Angel Davila, Marine Safety Technician from Sector San Juan.