Update on Tugboat Accident and Fuel Oil Spill

Governor Andrew Cuomo updates reporters about Saturday's accident/ © Press Office

Governor Andrew Cuomo updates reporters about Saturday’s accident/ © Press Office

An ongoing search for victims of yesterday’s accident continued, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. A second victim’s body was recovered today. “We tend to hope against hope even when it’s improbable,” Cuomo said.

A third worker is still missing, he said, and divers continue to search for his body. Poor visibility slows their search; the damaged ship adds to their difficulty.

March 15th UPDATE: The body of the third worker was located in the tugboat Specialist by New York State Police divers, who returned the scene this (Tuesday) morning. It’s incumbent upon the tug owners to devise a plan — that needs U.S. Coast Guard approval — to recover the submerged vessel.

“In terms of the spill, we believe the tug — estimated to have been carrying about 5,000 gallons — is still leaking diesel fuel oil,” the governor said. There’s a sheen on the river; crews are working to contain the leakage and its possible ramifications.

About 3,000 feet of boom was placed across the river at Croton, and about 9,000 feet of boom was placed near Piermont, he said. Helicopters observed the sheen is further south than it was yesterday and extends the river’s width.

Special pads placed by a private contractor absorb oil from the river’s surface; booms keep the oil from doing more damage.

“You know you try to wonder if there is a lesson to be learned something that could be done differently,” Cuomo said. “Sometimes dealing with emergencies you wonder if Mother Nature is trying to send us a signal or tell us something. But then sometimes it’s just a pure accident, and that’s what this occurs to be, just a pure accident.”

Project officials have focused extensively on boater safety; the barge was stationary and secure, and it was there for a while.

“Apparently the tug that was coming down with the barge heading south towards the river, coming from the north, knew that they were too close,” Cuomo said. “There were reports that there were radio transmissions from the tug on the right that said, ‘We are too close. We have to move left.’ But they couldn’t move in time, and sometimes it’s just that. Just an accident.”

Prayers to the families of the workers aboard tugboat Specialist.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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