Commercial dredge sinks in Lake Huron, leaving 500-foot oil sheen on surface
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 9:44 AM Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 11:51 AM
The U.S. Coast Guard sent out a response boat at around 4:30 a.m. after learning that the 110-foot Arthur J and an accompanying 38-foot tugboat were sinking in roughly 22-feet of water.
Spokeswoman Lauren Laughlin said all crew members are safe and accounted for, noting that the Coast Guard has "a lot" of people on the scene working to contain the spill and devise a clean-up strategy.
The dredge has the capacity to carry 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel, she said, but was only carrying 1,500 gallons when it sunk. It's not clear how much of that fuel escaped the dredge, but Laughlin said crews reported a 500-foot sheen on the surface of the lake.
The Coast Guard has placed a floating boom over the spill and is considering its next course of action, which may include using a skimmer to suck up feul from the water's surface.
"The Coast Guard is out there doing all we can to protect the marine environment," she said.
The dredge and tugboat are believed to be owned by MCM Marine Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie. Owner Joe McCoy was not immediately available for comment.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality have been notified of the spill.
Update: MDEQ: Sunken dredge may release all 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel into Lake Huron