Clean Up Underway After Major Oil Spill In Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/28/2004

Clean Up Underway After Major Oil Spill In Biloxi

Environmental crews are cleaning up 1000 gallons of diesel fuel that was leaked into Biloxi's Back Bay Saturday, after a shrimp boat sank at its dock. The coast guard classifies this as a 'major spill.'

Red diesel oil floated atop the water near the back bay harbor, Sunday. Coast Guard officials said the oil escaped from the vent of the shrimp boat's gas tank after the vessel went down.

The Coast Guard worked alongside environmental cleanup workers using hoses to contain the diesel fuel near the shore.

"What they're doing is their pushing all the diesel fuel up toward the skimmer," US Coast Guard Pollution Response Officer Cory Grindle said.

The skimmer machine collected the oil right off the top of the water and disposed it in a vacuum truck.

Investigators don't know exactly what caused the vessel to sink. Their primary focus now is containing and cleaning up this spill.

"This is a pretty major spill, we're estimating right around 1000 gallons," Grindle said.

Workers were also using specialized sponges, that looked like napkins, to soak up oil on top of the water.

"If it had not been contained it could have gone anywhere and effected the marine life, within the gulf and in this area, plant life or any type of water sources," Grindle said.

Safety officials said that thanks to a quick response fish and other sea creatures should be spared from the pollution.

The owner of the shrimp boat will be charged anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 for the cleanup. Crews hope to have all the fuel out of the water within two days.

By Nathan Mihelich

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