The V.I. Water and Power Authority asked boaters, whose vessels have been affected by Thursday’s spill of fuel oil in Christiansted harbor, to notify the agency of any complaints, and said it will take steps to clean affected vessels at the water line.
WAPA reported Thursday that it had spilled about 50 gallons of fuel oil at its Estate Richmond dock. By Friday evening, the agency said the cleanup was 95 percent complete.
“Initial emergency activities and measures are completed and the final phase of the industrial cleanup including the navigable waters and impacted shoreline is nearing completion,” said Julio Rhymer, WAPA acting chief executive officer.
WAPA personnel and contractors continued the clean-up of the waters in and around the fuel dock Friday, and along portions of the impacted shoreline to the east of the Richmond power plant. In addition to the cleanup efforts, Rhymer said WAPA conducted a marine survey of boats currently anchored or moored in the general area of the Christiansted harbor to determine any impact resulting from the oil spill.
Rhymer said the portion of the clean-up initiative involving the shoreline and the water around the fuel dock is complete.
“The focus is now inland where we are retrieving bags of absorbent pads and other materials that were used to remove the oil sheen as well as the contaminated seaweed from the affected sections of the harbor. Additionally on Saturday and Sunday, we will be coordinating the clean-up of boats soiled by the spilled oil, while investigating the malfunction of the separation equipment.”
Rhymer said the authority is hoping to get an “all clear” from the Coast Guard during the course of the weekend signaling a completion of the clean-up operation.
Rhymer added that the investigation into the cause of the spill is about 25 percent complete. Statements Friday suggested the spill occurred when water-fuel separation equipment was "overwhelmed."
Boat owners can contact WAPA by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.