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Gasoline Barge, Fishing Boat Collide; Small Spill Reported

June 22, 1990

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A fuel barge and a fishing boat collided today in the morning fog, spilling less than 1,000 gallons of gasoline into the ocean off of Rhode Island, authorities said.

Gasoline poured from a 6-inch crack in the barge ST-85 about two hours as the fuel was transferred to another tank, said Petty Officer Paul Gerecke of the Marine Safety Office in Providence.

″It’s not another World Prodigy,″ he said, referring to the oil tanker that caused the state’s worst oil spill last year.

It was a year ago Saturday that the World Prodigy ran aground off Newport, releasing 289,000 gallons of home heating oil into Rhode Island Sound.

Estimates of the amount of gasoline discharged into Block Island Sound this morning were not immediately available, but at worst it was 1,000 gallons, said Gerecke.

″When you’re dealing with a sunny day like this and gasoline it’s gone almost immediately - it’s gone as soon as it leaks out,″ said Gerecke.

In addition, the tide was heading out to sea and away from the beaches.

The crack was about two feet above the water line of the 360-foot barge, he said. The barge had a total cargo of 84,000 barrels, or 3.5 million gallons, but only 1,000 gallons of gasoline was above the crack, he said.

The collision occurred about four miles south of Weekapaug Point, midway between the Galilee section of Narragansett and the Watch Hill area of Westerly, he said. It is about 10 miles from the spot where the World Prodigy ran aground on Brenton Reef.

The fishing boat and barge rammed shortly before 7 a.m. when there was ″zero visibility,″ said Coast Guard Petty Officer Dave Brear.

No injuries were reported.

The barge, which is owned by the Tug New York Co. out of Philadelphia, was being propelled by a tugboat, he said. Both the barge and tug were being operated by Spentonbush-Red Star companies of New York, he said.

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