NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (August 23, 2018)—Naval Air Station Patuxent River's Port Operations Division and personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes are monitoring a partially submerged civilian watercraft in the Patuxent River for potential environmental impact.
The monitoring efforts began Aug. 21 at approximately 1 p.m. when NAS Patuxent River Port Operations personnel noticed what appeared to be a sinking vessel a half mile northwest of the base in the Patuxent River. An initial investigation determined that the vessel was a civilian-owned former Navy YP craft, and that no one was onboard. NAS Patuxent River Port Operations staff also determined that while the craft was taking on water, no visible signs of oil or hazardous substances (OHS) are being emitted from the sinking vessel. NAS Port Operations staff contacted U.S. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, who confirmed that they were aware of the vessel and were in contact with the craft's owner. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore also stated that boat towing service Sea Tow verified the vessel posed no potential pollution hazard, and that the owner was intending to address the problem.
Port Operations personnel have been monitoring the situation looking for signs of activity on the vessel as well as signs of any OHS being emitted from the vessel. As of 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23, no sign of OHS emissions have been observed. U.S. Coast Guard St. Inigoes patrol craft have also been on scene monitoring the craft as well.
Though the vessel is private property and not within the jurisdictional waters of the Navy, NAS Patuxent River Port Operations continues to monitor the situation and is ready to respond in the event the vessel poses any environmental threat to the river.
"We're working closely with the Coast Guard until the owner can safely tow it off," said David Wick, NAS Patuxent River Installation Program Director, Port Operations. "We will act and do everything possible to keep the Patuxent River clean and safe."
NAS Patuxent River will continue to work with the U.S. Coast Guard to mitigate any potential environmental impacts resulting from this situation.