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Zoe Colocotronis; Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico | 1973-Mar-18

Initial Notification: At 0255 on March 18, 1973, the Zoe Colocotronis en route to Guayarilla, Puerto Rico ran aground on a reef 3.5 miles off the La Parguera tourist area on the SW coast of Puerto Rico. The master ordered water and cargo from the forward tank jettisoned to help get the vessel off the reef, so 37,579 barrels of crude oil were intentionally released. The master later stated that the gyro compass, radar and depth sounder were not working properly. No distress or notification calls were made, and the master initially insisted that no oil had been released. Winds were 18-19 knots, and seas were 1-1.5 feet. Oil started coming ashore on the beaches of Cabo Rojo, on the Bahia Sucia side, by the evening of the grounding. Efforts to minimize beach impacts began on March 19. These efforts involved booming, digging sumps, and pumping the collected oil into tank trucks. On March 21, a substantial number of sea cucumbers, conchs, prawns, sea urchins, and polychaete annelids washed ashore. Organisms were dying in the Thalassia beds off-shore as well. On March 23, the On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) activated the USCG Atlantic Strike Team (AST). Wind shifts had caused more shoreline oiling, and an increase in pumping capability was needed. After receiving training from the AST, Underwater Technics personnel manually cleaned beaches until April 26, when it was decided to leave the beaches alone since new sand was accumulating rapidly. An estimated 24,000 barrels impacted the shores of Cabo Rojo. The final site inspection was on September 24. USCG district 7. Keyword: Weir/pump skimmer, boom, sorbents, skimmer, vacuum truck, contingency plan, remote response..

Incident Details
Products of concern:Venezuelan crude oil
Total amount at risk of spill: 1,580,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 18° 0.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 67° 15.00′ West