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Shell confirms superstorm Sandy triggers oil spill

Company doesn’t specify amount of oil spilled but says it is located off New York City.

Superstorm Sandy battered the New York coastline, including here at Jersey Shore.
Superstorm Sandy battered the New York coastline, including here at Jersey Shore.
Image: AP Photo/Mike Groll

US OIL COMPANY Shell confirmed today that superstorm Sandy had triggered an oil spill in the waters off New York City, without specifying an amount, and said clean up efforts were underway.

The US Coast guard, which is overseeing clean up efforts, said an estimate from refinery operator Motiva indicated up to 300,00 gallons of diesel fuel had spilled.

“At least two diesel storage tanks were damaged and an unknown quantity of product was released,” Shell said in a statement.

The storage tanks were at a Sewaren, New Jersey refinery part-owned by Shell and run by Motiva.

“No injuries have occurred and there has been no further product released since the initial event.”

“Previously deployed booms are continuing to skim released product in the Woodbridge creek adjacent to the site. Motiva and public emergency responders are onsite assessing the situation,” Shell said.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard said clean up efforts are hindered by the storm damage.

“The port has been torn up by the storm, so that complicates things. There’s debris in the waterways which makes it difficult for our boats to navigate safely through there,” said Erik Swanson.

But he said the oil had been successfully contained by a floating boom to minimize its spread.

He added that, during a flight to assess to storm’s impact, the coast guard had seen evidence of minor oil spills in other spots, but the Sewaren spill was the most significant.

Sandy carved a path of devastation across the US northeast on Monday and Tuesday, flooding lower Manhattan and much of the New Jersey coastline and leaving millions without electricity across several states.

- AFP, 2012

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