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Case: World Prodigy, RI

Date of incident: June 23, 1989.

Location: Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.


Case status: Settled. Restoration activities underway.

Overview: On June 23, 1989, the oil tanker M/V World Prodigy ran aground on Brenton Reef, off Newport, Rhode Island, spilling 290,000 gallons of home heating oil. This oil spread over 123 square miles, killing marine life and closing beaches and fishing grounds throughout Narragansett Bay.

The spill hit during a peak spawning period. Eggs and larvae of fish and shellfish—lobsters, quahogs, tautog, and others—were exposed to the oil as they floated at the surface. NOAA assessed the value of natural resources injured by the spill and estimated the cost of restoring them. Based on these figures, NOAA negotiated a $567,000 settlement.

Seining to survey fauna for baseline study, Sachuest Saltmarsh restoration site. Photo courtesy of Charles Roman, University of Rhode Island, 1996.
 Seining to survey fauna for baseline study.

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