Tar Balls in Rockaways Came from Dublin Express Spill

Image courtesy USCG

By The Maritime Executive 04-05-2019 10:29:21

The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that a band of tar balls found in the Rockaways are from fuel spilled by a boxship moored at Staten Island, 20 miles by water to the northwest. 

On March 28, fuel oil was spotted leaking from the container ship Dublin Express at the GCT New York terminal on Staten Island, on the Arthur Kill Waterway. A containment boom was deployed and skimming operations were launched. 

Operator Hapag-Lloyd confirmed that the leak originated from a 15-square-inch hole in the Express' hull, and on March 30 the line said that it had been successfully sealed. The Express reportedly encountered heavy swell while sailing from Port Everglades to New York. 

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard reported an oily sheen and tar balls on the ocean side of Coney Island and Long Island, from Brooklyn's Seagate neighborhood to the town of Atlantic Beach, just east of the Rockaways. The pollution included tar balls on the beach at Jacob Riis Park; the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory completed chemical fingerprinting of the tar balls, and it verified that the recovered oil matched the Express as the source. 

Shoreline assessments in New York and New Jersey areas have continued since last week, and there have been no reports of additional impact. Current spill trajectories do not predict further shoreside pollution, but the Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area through local stakeholders. Cleanup operations in the Arthur Kill Waterway are still under way.