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300 gallons of diesel spill at Port of Gulfport

Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Roble and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronnie Lucas assess the site of a diesel spill in Gulfport Harbor in Gulfport, Mississippi, June 15, 2016. The Coast Guard is working with state and local agencies in response to the spill. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt.j.g. Elizabeth Tatum
Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Roble and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronnie Lucas assess the site of a diesel spill in Gulfport Harbor in Gulfport, Mississippi, June 15, 2016. The Coast Guard is working with state and local agencies in response to the spill. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt.j.g. Elizabeth Tatum

Environmental officials said they expect no more problems after 300 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled at the state Port of Gulfport’s East Pier.

About 5 a.m. Wednesday, Coast Guard watchstanders were notified there had been a spill at the Gulfport Harbor.

“The spill occurred during the transfer of fuel from a barge to an offshore supply vessel,” said Lt. Elizabeth Tatum of Coast Guard Sector Mobile’s Incident Management Division.

Officials initially estimated about 250 gallons had been spilled.

The Oil Response Co. sent a crew that laid out 1,000 feet of boom to contain and absorb the fuel, according to the Coast Guard. Booms hold back water but absorb fuel and oils with a low viscosity.

The cleanup took more than eight hours. However, incident response won’t be considered finished until personnel from the state Department of Environmental Quality and Coast Guard return to the site of the spill Thursday to make sure the cleanup is complete.

It was not considered a major spill, “but we treat all of them the same,” Tatum said.

The incident and the cleanup didn’t require a complete shutdown of the harbor, she said.

The DEQ does not expect any adverse effect, said the agency’s Ernie Shirley, “and they responded quickly.”

“Also, the sun does a really good job of burning fuel.”

How the spill occurred remains under investigation.

The party responsible for cleanup costs generally is the party involved in the spill, he said.

Information was not available on the barge that was offloading fuel.

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