Buzzard’s Bay: One Year Later

Monday, April 26, 2004
April 27, 2004, marks one year since the Bouchard tank barge B. No. 120 ran aground and spilled approximately 55,000 gallons of Number 6 fuel oil in Buzzards Bay. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (MSO) Providence has been working with several of its partners the past year to clean up the spill and to implement changes that can help prevent a similar disaster in the future.

To date, more than $40 million has been spent on cleanup efforts. 99.8 percent of the shoreline areas that were oiled as a result of the spill have been cleaned, inspected by a combined team representing federal, state, local, and responsible party representatives, and found to meet the cleanup criteria under Massachusetts state law. A state-licensed company, GeoInsight, Inc., was designated to direct cleanup operations with oversight by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and United States Coast Guard in September 2003, when the Buzzards Bay Unified Command transitioned from the emergency response effort phase to a longer-term remediation effort under the oversight of DEP. The cleanup effort continues.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), in consultation with Department of Public Health (DPH), reopened 27,500 acres of beds on November 12, 2003. This re-opening allowed shellfish diggers to utilize productive flats off Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Bourne, and Falmouth, in addition to the areas that were re-opened in May and October 2003. With this reopening, 97 percent of the Buzzards Bay beds closed in April, 2003 are now safe for human consumption. Sampling of the remaining three percent of closed shellfish beds still needs to be conducted.

In September 2003, MSO Providence hosted a two-day Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) to examine the various risks to navigation safety within Buzzards Bay, including the Cape Cod Canal. The PAWSA produced a jointly developed action plan to help all waterways stakeholders address navigation safety risks in an organized, prioritized fashion.

One finding of the PAWSA was that the traffic mix between commercial vessels and recreational vessels in the vicinity of Rhode Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, and Buzzards Bay was a leading indicator of increased navigation risks. MSO Providence, the Northeast Marine Pilots, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) worked jointly to design and produce voluntary vessel routes to guide commercial traffic through the safest areas of Buzzards Bay, and to alert users as to where the concentrations of commercial traffic may be located. A voluntary vessel route through Buzzards Bay was approved by the Coast Guard and NOAA and adopted for inclusion on the next editions of the navigation chart 13230, “Buzzards Bay,” scheduled for publication in the spring of 2004.

MSO Providence is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Cape Cod Canal on a proposal to expand the Corps’ electronic coverage of Buzzards Bay through use of the Automatic Identification System (AIS). Under the proposal, the Corps would monitor commercial traffic via AIS signals emanating from vessels transiting in Buzzards Bay and notify either the vessel itself, the Coast Guard, or both, if the vessel was detected veering from its intended route. An operational prototype of this proposal may be tested this year. The Coast Guard also plans to expand its shore-side AIS infrastructure to enable vessel tracking and improved navigation safety and collision avoidance in areas such as Buzzards Bay.

The U.S. Attorney announced a $10 million criminal settlement with Bouchard Transportation for the Buzzards Bay oil spill. The settlement formalized Bouchard's acceptance of a guilty plea for negligent operations resulting in the spill. The civil investigation continues.

The Coast Guard, DEP and NOAA have provided technical support to the Coalition for Buzzards Bay to develop a comprehensive, Geographic Information Based (GIS) response plan. The new plan will enable oil spill experts to quickly identify threatened environments and prioritize response strategies to minimize the effects of a spill.

Maritime Reporter September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Rolls-Royce to Cut More Staff of Marine Unit

Britain's Rolls-Royce said it would cut an additional 400 staff from its marine business by the end of next year, its latest move to make the unit more efficient

Wärtsilä Debuts Package for hydropower & industrial plant

Wärtsilä Corporation, a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets, expands into a new market segment, offering a comprehensive package of seals,

Smith Taken on Rolls-Royce Holdings Board

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc today announces the appointment of Sir Kevin Smith CBE as a Non-Executive Director.  Sir Kevin will join the Board with effect from


Hunt for Missing El Faro Ship Enters 4th day, Hopes Fade

Search and rescue teams resumed scouring the seas on Monday for the missing cargo ship El Faro and it mostly American crew, after it was caught in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin four days ago, the U.

USCG: Missing Cargo Ship El Faro Believed to Have Sunk

The U.S. Coast Guard now believes that the missing cargo ship El Faro sank after sailing into the path of Hurricane Joaquin in the Bahamas, a spokesman said on Monday.

Choi-Wan to hit SE Japan

Tropical Storm Choi-Wan, located near 21N/158E yesterday (4 October), is forecast to move WNW-NNW over the next days and intensify to a very large typhoon. A large area of HIGH to VERY HIGH sea,

Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1458 sec (7 req/sec)