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Oil Spill Off Staten Island Didn't Damage Bird Sanctuary, Coast Guard Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 22, 2013 12:53pm

MARINER'S HARBOR — An oil spill off the coast of Staten Island had no impact on a nearby bird sanctuary, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

A December 14 oil spill in the Kill Van Kull threatened the Shooter's Island Bird Sanctuary, home to several rare species of wading birds.

However, the Coast Guard successfully boomed the 35-acre island and prevented oil washing ashore, said Charles Rowe, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

The spill was cleaned up in early January, and oil only washed ashore in nearby industrial areas, which suffered minimal damage, Rowe said.

"The environmental damage was very limited," Rowe said.

In December, rescuers spotted 15 birds that were slightly oiled due to the spill. They did not have to be captured for rehabilitation, the Coast Guard said.

The oiled birds were mostly water fowl and none of the other 2,900 birds sighted in the area were found oiled, Rowe said.

The spill started at 11:22 p.m. because of a leak in the cargo tanks of a barge. Workers saw darkened waters while the boat was transferring fuel to another ship at the Mays Ship Repair on Richmond Terrace, the Coast Guard said.

The tanks was holding 112,000 gallons of oil, of which an estimated 13,000 gallons made their way into the water, Rowe said. The Coast Guard pumped out 202,000 gallons of oil and water mix, Rowe said.