Delaware River oil spill may be 15 times greater than estimated
The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday an estimated 473,500 gallons of crude oil are missing from the tanker “Athos I” in the Delaware River.
That amount is approximately 15 times greater than the 30,000 gallons of oil originally reported as being released when the vessel's hull was breached on the evening of Nov. 26 as it approached a marine terminal owned by Citgo Petroleum. The crew on a tug assisting the “Athos I” suddenly noticed oil pouring from the tanker.
Divers have since found a six-foot gash in the vessel's hull, as well as a two-foot puncture. The Coast Guard is analyzing a videotape of the damage, but has reached no conclusions on what might have caused the rips.
Meantime, the oil spill has extended 44 miles along the Delaware, from the Salem nuclear power plant to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. An oil sheen has come within three miles of drinking-water intakes for the city of Philadelphia and the South Jersey region.
Knight Ridder Newspapers reported the “Athos I” had been detained in South Korea in March, after oil that filled part of its engine room had been allegedly pumped overboard.
The Coast Guard said it had allowed a handful of vessels to pass single-file along the river. On Tuesday, at least 21 vessels waited to enter or leave the port of Philadelphia.