120-Foot Barge That Capsized off Charleston Coast Could Spill 1,000 Gallons of Fuel

The Coast Guard is on the scene in Charleston, South Carolina after a 120-foot dredge barge capsized in the Marina on Wednesday morning, as officials said the barge was carrying 1,000 gallons of fuel onboard that could spill into the water.

#USCG Sector Charleston and local agencies are responding to the 120' dredge barge Capt Leo II in the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina that capsized this morning. Reported max potential of 1,000 gallons of diesel on board. Boom has been deployed. More updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/q10aPaRPNx

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) August 4, 2021

The Twitter account of the United States Coast Guard Southeast tweeted that a "boom has been deployed," which is a method of clean-up in oil spills. The booms, large padded barriers designed to contain and absorb oil, contain diesel fuel leaking from the dredge.

It is unclear at this time how many gallons of fuel are leaking, or if all 1,000 gallons found its way into the water.

According to The Post and Courier, authorities received a call around 3:30 a.m. that the dredge was sinking in the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.

The barge, named Captain Leo II, is owned by Marcol Dredging Co. in North Charleston.

Newsweek reached out to Marcol Dredging Co. for comment but have yet to receive a response.

Jack Walker, the Marcol Dredging spokesman, told The Courier the dredge was in fact connected to two barges, and both barges and the dredge partially sunk.

According to the Coast Guard, no one was on the barge at the time it sank.

One Twitter user voiced their concern for fishing in the area due to the spill, citing the dredging itself was already interfering.

Several other spills have damaged the ecosystems in South Carolina waters as well, as almost a year ago, another major oil spill came after the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant dumped thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard and The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) spent numerous days cleaning fuel out of the water and a marsh, as it led to main waterways in which gasoline could have gotten into.

However, one of the worst oil spills in South Carolina in more recent years took place in December 2014, when 369,000 gallons of gasoline leaked into the waters near Belton, damaging several hundred acres of farmland, according to the American Institute of Physics.

But in June 1996, nearly 1 million gallons of fuel spilled over a 23-mile stretch in the Reedy River which destroyed vegetation, killed wildlife and 35,000 fish, the Greenville News reported.

The Colonial Pipeline Company paid $13 million in settlements to South Carolina and landowners and another $41 million in federal Clean Water Act fines for the 1996 spill, according to the American Institute of Physics.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the DHEC for additional comment.

A barge in South Carolina capsized early Wednesday morning, spilling a possible 1,000 gallons of fuel into the water. In this photo, workers place oil absorbent booms on the beaches of Taboga Island in Panama on June 10. LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images