USCG responds to discharge from tug that hit bridge

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The semi-submerged tugboat Miss Bonnie sits in the water after alliding with the Old Bonner Bridge and is responsible for the potential maximum discharge of 6,000 gallons of diesel, Nov. 18, 2019, in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. The cause of the allision is currently under investigation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet)

The Coast Guard has been responding to a discharge of diesel from a semi-submerged tugboat in the vicinity of the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet, N.C.

The tugboat allided with the Old Bonner Bridge on Nov. 17, 2019, at 11:09 a.m.

All eight people aboard the tugboat returned to shore safely and reported had no injuries. No pollution was reported at that time.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina yesterday received the report of a sheen ,which was reported to be leaking from the tugboat Miss Bonnie, at 10:00 a.m. yesterday.

The maximum potential for the discharge is 6,000 gallons; however, it is estimated 3,000 gallons were onboard. The responsible party has deployed 200 feet of sorbent boom and 175 feet of containment boom around the vessel.

The responsible party is scheduled to deploy secondary ocean boom tomorrow, as well as conduct salvage operations once on-scene weather permits.

There have been no reports of impacts to wildlife. The channel currently remains open to all vessel traffic.

The Coast Guard is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator to identify the most likely trajectory of the discharged diesel to determine necessary mitigation strategies for the preventative impact to environmentally sensitive areas.

“Protecting the marine environment is a top priority for the Coast Guard,” said Capt. Bion Stewart, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “We are overseeing the responsible party’s actions to mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the discharge and to remove the vessel when it is safe to do so.”

Involved in the response are:

  • Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Marine Safety Detachment
  • PCL Construction
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • National Parks Service

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

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