Destroyer spills diesel fuel off N.C. coast

U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady
U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady

OUTER BANKS, N.C. (WAVY) — A Norfolk-based guided missile destroyer spilled 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel off the coast of North Carolina last week.

Ted Brown with U.S. Fleet Forces Command said the USS Jason Dunham spilled the fuel over a 100-mile track near the Virginia Capes while the destroyer was in transit from routine operations. It lasted from sometime on March 10 until March 12 around 1 a.m. when the ship was about 50 to 75 miles east of Carova Beach.

The spill never got closer to land than about 22 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras.

The Coast Guard flew an aircraft across the spill area the next day and no sheen was spotted. No clean-up efforts were initiated because the fuel was expected to drift away from the coast and evaporate. Brown said there were no environmental impacts.

The cause of the spill was a misalignment of the fuel system, Brown said.

Federal agencies were contacted about the spill, soon after it took place. The military has opened an investigation into what caused the incident.

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