NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Naval Air Station Patuxent River successfully turned over containment and cleanup efforts for the partially submerged civilian watercraft in the Patuxent River to the U.S. Coast Guard Aug. 30.
Containment efforts by NAS Patuxent River’s Port Operations Division had been ongoing since 7:15 a.m. Aug. 28, when they noticed a sheen on the water near the civilian craft during routine monitoring of the vessel. NAS Patuxent River Port Operations immediately responded with two boats and deployed a 1000-foot containment boom. Personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes were also notified and dispatched for response and investigation. By 10:35 a.m. Aug. 28, NAS Patuxent River’s Port Operations contained the 100-by-300-foot fuel sheen.
Though the vessel is a privately-owned craft and not within the jurisdictional waters of the Navy, NAS Patuxent River Port Operations quickly reacted as the closest first responder in order to prevent environmental impact to the river.
“After monitoring the vessel and responding to the leakage over the past few days, it’s clear to see that the oil or hazardous substances [OHS] leak is coming from it; Pax River’s call to action was absolutely necessary to prevent an environmental impact to the river” said David Wick, NAS Patuxent River Installation Program Director, Port Operations. “If we didn’t place a boom around this vessel, the wind would have pushed the OHS to Solomons’ shores and caused an even greater environmental impact than occurred.”
During the afternoon of Aug. 30, the Coast Guard used absorbent pads to collect the OHS that was inside the Navy’s containment boom before placing their own boom, allowing the Coast Guard and contactor cleanup personnel to continue the containment and cleanup efforts.
“This was truly a collaborative effort on the part of the Navy and Coast Guard,” said Wick. “Together, we were able to prevent a serious impact to the Patuxent River.”