ASSATEAGUE – Coast Guard crews and a private contractor this week continued to off-load thousands of gallons of diesel fuel off a commercial vessel that remained grounded off the coast of Assateague as of mid-week.
The Coast Guard last week responded to a vessel in trouble off the coast of Assateague and assisted three crewmembers before assessing the potential environmental impact. Around 3 a.m. last Monday, the crew of the “Frieda Marie” informed the Coast Guard the vessel had run aground and was taking on water in the vicinity of Assateague Island National Seashore.
Coast Guard Station Chincoteague immediately launched its 24-foot and 47-foot rescue boats and crews were able to assist the vessel’s crew and prevent more flooding. This week, Coast Guard crews along with a private contractor hired for the task continued the process of removing roughly 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel before re-floating the “Frieda Marie.” The intent is to protect Assateague Island and its natural resources, including threatened piping plovers, from any harm caused by the grounding of the vessel in close proximity to the seashore.
By early this week, Coast Guard crews and the hired contractor had safely removed approximately 9,500 gallons of diesel fuel from the “Frieda Marie,” although the vessel still remained aground just off the coast of Assateague. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads response personnel and members of IMS Environmental, the private company hired to assist with the clean-up efforts, had removed a large majority of the fuel from the vessel, but roughly 100 gallons remained on board to power the vessel’s generators.
“We have safely removed the majority of the diesel fuel, however, the vessel is still aground,” said Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Scott McBride this week.