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Saturday, June 22, 2024


Sept. 20, 2001 – U.S. Coast Guard investigators have concluded that one of the five commercial vessels suspected of spilling 30 gallons of oil into the Creek in Cruz Bay last month was responsible. But because the P'ti Bleu II's owners voluntarily cleaned up the spill and have had no other offenses in the last year, the Coast Guard has imposed a minimum penalty, a $625 fine.
Lt. John Reinert confirmed that the Coast Guard marine safety laboratory in Groton, Conn., matched a spilled-oil sample taken from the cargo docks area of the Creek in Cruz Bay on Aug. 20 with a bilge oil sample subsequently taken from the P'ti Bleu II barge. Using gas chromatography analysis, the laboratory determined that the two samples were "derived from a common source of petroleum oil," while oil samples taken from the four other suspected vessels did not match the spill sample.
The other samples were from the Auto Transit, Roanoke, General and Capt. Vic. Port inspectors looking into the oil spill had observed a large amount of waste oil in the bilge of the P'ti Bleu II, which, with the Auto Transit, was "moored in the direct vicinity of the spill."
The P'ti Bleu II and Auto Transit are owned by Ocean Link Enterprises of St. John. Vice president and part owner Cheryl Boynes-Jackson said she could not explain how oil from the P'ti Bleu II got into the water. "We were not aware of the spill" until the Coast Guard "brought it to our attention," she said Thursday. At the time, Jackson said, she volunteered to "do whatever we could to help" by taking the lead in the spill cleanup operation and allowing bilge oil samples to be taken from both of her vessels.
According to Reinert, Cmdr. Joseph Servidio, chief of port operations in San Juan, concurred with the recommendation of the marine safety detachment on St. Thomas to fine the P'ti Bleu $625. Reinert credited Jackson with taking the responsibility to clean up what "everyone considered at the time a mystery spill." He said, "Since they were so proactive with getting the spill cleaned up, we are not going to pursue a violation case against them at this time."

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