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Clean-Up Advanced In Puerto Rico Spill

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reportedly claims that most of the oil spilled from theMorris J. Berman barge which ran aground off San Juan on January 7 has been recovered. The barge was sunk about 16 miles off shore after being towed away by the USCG. The natural shape of the shore line was a factor that reportedly helped to create a pocket for much of the spilled oil, working to clean-up crews' advantage. At the request of the USCG, the Marine Spill Response Corp. (MSRC) assisted in the cleanup. MSRC dispatched the oil spill response vessel Caribbean Responder from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands to the scene. In addition, MSRC provided two GT-185 skimming systems and a DESMI skimmer with crews for nearshore operations. MSRC has had more than 25 personnel involved in the response operations. National Response Corporation (NRC) of Calverton, Long Island also responded to the spill. NRC's initial response within hours of the spill included 90 men, 17,000 feet of boom deployed to prevent the oil from spreading, seven recovery devices for skimming surface oil from the water, and other support materials. Crowley Maritime Services, Inc. also dispatched more than seven hundred workers to fight the spill. From the East and West Coast ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle and as far north as Anchorage, Alaska, remediation experts, cleanup chiefs and salvage experts traveled to Puerto Rico to work on the spill.

The Crowley tug The Mariner towed the Berman 20 miles out to sea for scuttling.

So far the USCG has allocated $19 million from the $1 billion Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the cleanup, but substantially more aid is expected to complete the work and to pay claims from damaged parties.

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