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NEW JERSEY Amount of oil spilled by tanker tops quarter-million gallons



Published: Tue, January 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



An unidentified piece of metal punctured the ship.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that 265,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Delaware River after an oil tanker apparently struck a huge chunk of metal on the river bottom in November, officials said Friday.

The amount is nearly nine times the initial estimate of 30,000 gallons, but less than the 473,500 gallons of oil that officials later said was unaccounted for.

The Coast Guard came up with the new estimate after the ship, the Athos I, was taken out of the water in Mobile, Ala., had its tanks cleaned and part of its hull removed, Capt. Jonathan Sarubbi said.

The amount of oil removed from all the tanks on the ship was measured, and an independent marine surveyor completed the calculations and provided the final estimate, Sarubbi said.

Crippling injury

Coast Guard officials are still trying to identify the 15-foot-long hunk of metal that punctured the ship, spokeswoman Kimberly Smith said. Some engineers have said it appears to be part of a huge pump.

Investigators speculated it might have been scrap metal used as a ship anchor.

The ship suffered its crippling injury on Nov. 26 as it prepared to dock at an oil terminal in Paulsboro, N.J. Its oil blackened miles of shoreline, killing wildlife, hampering shipping and causing environmental damage.

As of Friday, cleanup workers had recovered 84,020 gallons of oil and oily liquid, 1,817 gallons of submerged oil and 7,812 tons of oily solids; 258 birds have been released and 174 have died.




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