A fuel oil leak from a containership at the Global Container Terminal in Bayonne has been stopped, the U.S. Coast Guard announced on Sept. 30. The container vessel YM Mandate is no longer leaking fuel oil from a crack in the hull.
The ship is internally conducting a transfer of fuel oil from the affected tank.
Fuel oil is being pumped from the affected tank to a barge alongside the vessel and will continue to be pumped until the affected tank is empty, and repairs to the hull can be made.
All leaking product is currently contained within the boom and skimmer system.
An oil containment boom, a temporary floating barrier, and absorbent pads have been deployed around the YM Mandate, according to the Coast Guard. Contracted skimming vessels have been working to remove oil from the water.
Containing and absorbing
A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Gallagher Marine Systems, responded to the report of an oil leak in the water.
The National Response Center contacted Coast Guard Sector New York watchstanders on Sept. 28, reporting a sheen near the vessel Yang Ming (YM) Mandate.
The YM Mandate was built in 2010 and can hold 6,572 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Each storage container is 20 feet long, meaning the YM Mandate can carry approximately 6,572 storage containers.
A Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) New York boat crew in the area reported a small crack in the ship’s hull, which was leaking fuel oil. Coast Guard investigators confirmed the leak.
YM Mandate activated its Coast Guard-approved vessel response plan by making notifications and activating response resources.
The affected tank has a capacity of 462,297 gallons. The amount of fuel oil leaked is not known at this time.
The last time an oil spill occurred was in 2018. APM Terminal alerted the National Response Centre that fuel had spilled into Newark Bay while a ship was refueling pier-side at the terminal.
While commercial cleanup crews used a boom to contain the fuel and recover it from the waterway, it’s not clear how much oil was spilled and how much was recovered.
An oil spill occurred in Bayonne in 2015. There was a collision between a tugboat and fuel terminal pier at the International-Matex Tank Terminal (IMTT) site on Aug. 1.
The accident resulted in a spill of approximately 1,000 gallons. The Coast Guard responders and IMTT crew members placed a containment boom in the water and stopped the oil from spreading farther.
Another oil spill occurred during SuperStorm Sandy in 2012. Storm water surging in from New York Bay pushed leftover oil up to the surface and spilled it on the east side of Bayonne. The watery oil, presumably from an old oil refinery, left a thick residue on surrounding properties.
Some of the worst oil spills in or around Bayonne occurred 30 years ago.
An oily history
In 1990, the rupture of an Exxon underwater pipeline on Jan. 1 resulted in the release of 567,000 gallons of fuel oil into the Arthur Kill.
The leak occurred just south of the Goethals Bridge due to a five-foot gash in the pipeline that connects the Bayway Refinery in Linden to the Bayonne Plant in Bayonne. Tides and winds moved the oil up the Arthur Kill and the Staten Island coastline into Newark Bay and the Kill Van Kull along the Bayonne coastline.
Cleanup crews recovered approximately 141,000 of the 567,000 gallons of oil. By the time cleanup efforts were completed, approximately 50 percent of the oil had evaporated.
Months later, another oil spill occurred in Bayonne. Anywhere from 24,000 to 34,000 gallons of heating oil leaked from a hole in a barge at Exxon’s Constable Hook terminal on Feb. 28, 1990.
The barge had a large gash above the hull on the port side; the cause was unclear. While crews were dispatched to clean the water, it’s not clear how much oil was recovered.
On March 1, nearly 4,000 gallons of heavy crude oil spilled into the Arthur Kill at Exxon’s refinery in Linden.
On June 7, 1990, the oil tanker Nautilus ran aground in the Kill Van Kull, rupturing its hull and leaking about 260,000 gallons of heavy oil into the water.
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