Diesel sheen from cargo fuel spill has dissipated in Lake Michigan
The 630-foot-long Manitowoc sat anchored outside of Manistee for two days after suffering a hull breach and leaking fuel into Lake Michigan.
The ship has been cleared to travel and is headed on a six-hour journey to Muskegon. There, officials will determine the cause of the breach and how much of the punctured fuel tank’s 24,000 gallons of diesel actually spilled into the lake.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Heather Stemmerman told WCMU there’s not much responders can do without a visible sheen.
"There’s only so much that can be recoverable, especially without that grey sheen on the water," Stemmerman said. "Some of it can be recoverable, usually not very much of it, but the sun is the best thing for us and evaporation.”
An absorbent boom was deployed after thunderstorms on Thursday. Stemmerman said it's now been removed, but the Manitowoc crew have the necessary equipment in case of an emergency while in transit.
“We have the responsible party, the Coast Guard and our local representatives continuing to do shoreline assessments," Stemmerman said. "So far, they haven’t seen any reported impact, but they want to make sure there’s none.”
Drinking water and shorelines appear to be unaffected at this moment. Stemmerman said it’s too early to gauge any environmental impacts from the spill.
The northern part of the Fifth Ave. Beach in Manistee is still closed. City officials said the decision was done out of caution.
Although the risk hasn't been reported yet, the District Health Department #10 said contact with diesel can present significant health risks and advise people to stay out of the water.
The Coast Guard is asking the public to call 231-723-6241 to report any sightings of diesel reaching the shoreline.
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