Oil-Ladden Barge Sinks In Long Island Sound
NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ Crews tried today to contain a 2-mile-long oil spill after a 240-foot barge carrying 800,000 gallons of oil sank in the eastern end of Long Island Sound.
Two barge crewmen were pulled from the cold waters of the sound Friday afternoon as the vessel began taking on water and leaking from its cargo of heating oil and diesel fuel, the Coast Guard said.
″We’re waiting for a helicopter crew to determine the extent of the spillage and the area involved,″ Coast Guard spokesman Don Lohse said today.
The incident forced the Coast Guard to close The Race, a major commercial shipping lane between Fishers Island, N.Y., and Long Island, N.Y., the Coast Guard said.
An oil slick 2 miles long and nearly a mile wide had formed before dark, Petty Officer Paula Hobson said.
It was not known why the barge sank, but rough waters could have been a factor, she said.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the barge’s bow slipped under the water late Friday. Earlier, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. M.J. Lewandowski described the boat as standing on end in 160 feet of water, apparently grounded on a sand bar southwest of Fishers Island.
The tug towing the barge tried to turn it around and head it out of the sound. But rough seas made the maneuver impossible, Lewandowski said.
The two crewmen who abandoned ship in survival suits were treated at a hospital and released.
The barge is owned by Eklof Marine Corp. of Staten Island, N.Y., Hobson said. Eklof Marine took responsibilty for the cleanup and hired two New York salvage companies for the job, Hobson said.