Fuel Spill after Shrimp Boat Sinks Near Tampa

By nationalfisherman.com.

A widespread storm that swept across Florida left a fuel spill in Hillborough Bay near Tampa, as the Coast Guard scrambled to assist more than 20 vessels in distress Sunday.

Boat and aircrews of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg responded to multiple calls about recreational boats displaced in the storm. The storm, an unusual low-pressure system with tropical-like rainfalls, continued to make its way up the East Coast past Charleston, S.C., where it pushed a high tide Sunday morning that at 9.62 feet above mean low water rivaled flooding from Hurricane Idalia, according to the National Weather Service.

Sector St. Petersburg Incident Management crews and partner agencies responded to a diesel discharge from the 63-foot fishing vessel Miss Jordi, which sank off Tampa Shrimp Docks during the storm. The vessel has a maximum capacity of holding 10,000 gallons of fuel, and was reported to have about 2,000 gallons on board. Pollution responders are on scene and cleanup efforts are ongoing, with the cause of the sinking under investigation, according to the Coast Guard.

Tampa police were searching Sunday night for Miss Jordi’s captain, Curtis Lee Cowling. Police said they believe Cowling lives on the boat full time. It’s not known if he was there at there of the sinking but is now considered “missing and endangered,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“Coast Guard and contracted pollution responders are on scene cleaning up the spill,” said Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg response department head. “We ask that people stay out of the area so crews can work swiftly and safely. Reports of pollution may be directed to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.”


Read more at nationalfisherman.com.