Sinking ship no longer leaking oil into St. Johns | News

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Sinking ship no longer leaking oil into St. Johns
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An oil spill from a ship sinking into the St. Johns River triggered a U.S. Coast Guard investigation Tuesday evening.

The retired river boat, dubbed the Lady St. Johns, partially sank in the St. Johns River at some point Tuesday afternoon. It had been docked near the Chart House, a restaurant.

The Coast Guard was called to the scene about 7 p.m., where the ship was listing to one side and a sheen could be seen around the ship.

The National Response Center responded along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as well as Jacksonville Fire Rescue and the City Waterways Manager's office.

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As of Wednesday, the Coast Guard determined the ship is no longer leaking oil into the river.

Moran Environmental Recovery is working with divers from Logan Diving & Salvage to remove the remainder of the fuel from the ship and to clean up the oil.

Gracie Kennedy with the DEP says 150 gallons of oil spilled into the St. Johns River.

"You reach a part where you can't recover it and nature has to take care of it," said Kennedy.

But that's a concern for St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman.

"The goal is to keep anything that doesn't belong in the river out. and when you have something like this, when disaster strikes, make sure it's reported and acted on as soon as possible so they can minimize the impact," said Rinaman.

She says oil spills like this one can affect all of the animals... starting at the bottom of the food chain.

"You don't want your bait fish eating and absorbing the oil and then it getting into the fish, it's just a matter of keeping the waters as clean as possible so it doesn't impact the food chain," said Rinaman.

The state will now do a damage assessment, to find out if any fines will be issued. The owner
has to work with the city to hire a company to tow the boat after the cleanup is done.

The cause remains under investigation.

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