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Barge Hits Ledge Off Connecticut, Spills At Least 15,000 Gallons

December 22, 1992

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ The Coast Guard and environmental officials worked Monday to contain thousands of gallons of oil leaking from a barge that ran aground on a ledge in the mouth of the Thames River.

The 295-foot barge hit Black Ledge before dawn Monday while being pulled by a tugboat, spilling an estimated 15,000 to 19,000 gallons of No. 2 heating oil, the Coast Guard said.

The ruptured tank, one of 12 on the barge, contained 39,000 gallons of oil, Coast Guard Lt. Phillip Heyl said. The barge was carrying its capacity of 1.3 million gallons.

The Coast Guard removed the barge from the ledge Monday afternoon and had enveloped the hull with booms, inflatable devices to contain the spill.

Heyl said No. 2 heating oil, used to heat houses, is a relatively light oil that stays on the water surface and is easily contained with booms. It’s difficult to skim off the water surface, but much of it is expected to evaporate, Heyl said.

In contrast, the oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez was No. 6 crude oil, which sinks, Heyl said.

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