A drug runner sailboat modified to operate as a semi-submarine grounded and was abandoned on Mona Island, Puerto Rico on or about 31 August, 2023. The vessel is leaking diesel fuel and is in prime sea turtle habitat. NOAA's Scientific Support Coordinator has discussed the issue with NOAA's Office of Protected Resources and the US Coast Guard.
Late on August 31, 2023, a crude oil spill occurred at Port Manatee in Tampa Bay. The estimated volume of release oil is 3500 gallons. Most of the oil is within the Port Manatee Basin but some has escaped the basin and entered Tampa Bay. USCG is on the scene investigating. Currently, the source is uncertain. Imagery from NOAA NGS post-hurricane Idalia flights show some sheen in the Port basin, This imagery was obtained sometime during the morning on 1 Sept, 2023. NOAA is preparing a trajectory forecast, oil fate analysis, Resources at Risk, and an initial draft emergency consultation form for the USCG.
On 28-AUG-2023, USCG Sector Puget Sound notified the NOAA SSC that a 26-foot cabin cruiser sank in Bellingham Bay, WA. It is unknown how much fuel product is on board the vessel. There has been no reported sheen or fuel observed in the water. Ownership of the vessel is under investigation, The USCG opened the OSLTF and requested a verbal ESI/ Resources at Risk to prepare for pollution response.
USCG District 7 established a Crisis Action Team on Saturday 26 August 2023 to begin preparation in advance of the tropical system that has now developed into hurricane Idalia. As of 0700 Monday 28 August 2023, the USCG has shifted to a full Incident Management Area Command function at USCG air station Miami. The State is establishing an emergency operations center in Tallahassee today and a USCG representative is enroute. NOAA's SSC has been coordinating preparations with the USCG over the weekend and is now present at the area command to coordinate NOAA support in preparation for the storm landfall and post storm assessments as requested. The NOAA navigational response team has been contacted to request their status and plans for support.
Late Sunday night (27-AUG-2023), USCG Sector San Francisco contacted ERD’s Hazmat Duty Officer for notification purposes only of the 53’ Motor Yacht SERENITY then adrift. The SERENITY was the subject of a USCG search & rescue operation Sunday evening with an estimated 800 gallons diesel on-board. The incident occurred during heavy weather conditions (winds exceeding 20 knots from the NW and building to well over 30 knots) and all persons on board (POBs) were rescued. ERD provided support for possible drift estimates of the vessel to inform the vessel owner’s aerial search planned for Friday (01-SEP), in the event it is still afloat.
On August 25, 2023, the USCG Sector Juneau contacted NOAA AK aSSC to notify them of the 38ft F/V Cathy Anne that began listing at the south side of the mouth of Funter Bay. The vessel has 250 gallons of diesel aboard, and at the time of notification, was not releasing product. USCG performed SAR operations to rescue crewmembers and are now dealing with recovering the vessel. USCG requested from AK aSSC any information on sensitive resources in the area that could be impacted if a release occurred.
On 23-AUG-2023 the USCG Station Astoria notified the NOAA SSC of the F/V Pacific Bay taking on water while moored at the Westport Marina, WA. There is a max. potential of approx. 1,200 gallons of diesel on board. The vessel owner is repairing the bilge pump and is making plans to pump off the oily water to totes at the Port of Grays Harbor.
Around 0900 on August 21, USCG Sector Northern New England contacted the SSC about a 53' recreational vessel that caught fire and sank near Seguin Island, ME on August 19 around 2300. The USCG requested trajectory and resources at risk support. The vessel was reported to have 410 gallons of diesel on board. No spills or sheens were reported.
The evening of 17-AUG-2023, USCG Sector LA/Long Beach contacted their NOAA SSC to request support for a 43’ vessel sunk roughly 300 yds outside the entrance to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach, CA. At the time, the vessel was reportedly carrying 300 gallons diesel and it was not clear whether it was actively sheening or not. USCG requested trajectory support in the event of a catastrophic release overnight or during the morning hours.
On 17-Aug, USCG Sector Puget Sound contacted the NOAA Hazmat Duty Officer to notify them of an anhydrous ammonia leak aboard the 169 ft F/V Pacific Producer that is docked near the Foss Waterway in Tacoma, WA. Aside from the anhydrous ammonia leak, the vessel is currently slowly taking on water and there remains 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of diesel aboard.
USCG Sector Charleston requested a spill trajectory at 0730 on 9 August 2023 for a 65 foot tug, the Jacqueline A that sank 3 miles offshore from Myrtle Beach SC at 2100 on 08 Aug 2023 in 30 feet of water. Tug is on the bottom with 5000 gallons of diesel fuel and about 75 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils onboard.
On July 31, 2023, Whitney Oil and Gas reported an approximately 2 bbl spill from an 8-inch pipeline. Dark oil and sheen was reported on the water and in the adjacent marsh. The release was secured. The NOAA SSC was consulted on cleanup and recovery operations
On July 25, 2023, Cox Operating reported a half-inch hole in a 4-inch flow line in West Delta Block 29. Approximately 2.5 bbl of crude oil was released onto open water and resulted in a 5-mile sheen heading east. The line has been shut in and release secured. The USCG requested a brief consultation regarding fate and trajectory.
On July 22, 2023, a 5-mile long by 30-foot wide mystery sheen was reported in South Timbalier Block 22. No recoverable oil but a light sheen was observed. The sheen was reported to have naturally dissipated over time.
On July 22, 2023, a compressor caught fire on a Cox Operating platform in Viosca Knoll. The fire is out. The platform is shut in. Diesel from the compressor entered the water and generated a 40-yard sheen which was naturally dispersed.
On July 21, 2023, approximately 7 bbl of crude oil was discharged from a TPIC facility into USFWS Delta National Wild Refuge. The NOAA SSC provided phone support on the cleanup
On 20 July 2023, USCG MSU Savannah was informed that the 1150 ft Maltese-flagged vessel M/V Magellan had potentially damaged containers onboard that contained lithium batteries and other hazardous materials. NOAA was contacted on 21 July to help evaluate risks and response options in the event the batteries or other hazmat overheats or otherwise has a reaction.
On 20-July-2023 the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) contacted the NOAA SSC about a fire at a former Kmart building in Portland, Oregon that began at 0600L on 19-July and continues to smolder. There is concern of particulates and potential for asbestos released from the fire. There is high media interest and community concerns. The NOAA SSC provided phone support to connect ODEQ with EPA R10 and NWS. EPA had an IMAAC model run for air dispersion to determine where the smoke plume may have gone. NWS provided a SPOT weather forecast. The City of Portland will be testing for asbestos.
On July 19, 2023, BSEE reported a 5-mile by 50-yard sheen from a GOM Shelf/Commodore Offshore platform in West Delta Block 75. The platform was being decommissioned. All wells had been plugged and abandoned. The discharge was from oil remaining in storage tanks. The USCG requested a rapid assessment of the potential shoreline impact.
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