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Case: Tank Barge DBL 152, Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico 

Date of incident: November 11, 2005.

Location: Federal Waters, Gulf of Mexico.


Case status: Restoration Planning Phase

Overview: On November 11, 2005, while enroute from Houston, Texas to Tampa, Florida, the integrated tug barge unit comprised of the tugboat "Rebel" and the double-hull Tank Barge DBL 152 collided with the submerged remains of a pipeline service platform that collapsed during Hurricane Rita. As a result of the incident, an estimated 1,925,532 gallons of a blended mixture of heavy oil were discharged into federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, West Cameron Block 229. The majority of the released oil was denser than sea water causing it to sink to the seafloor. While the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, state response agencies, and the responsible party worked to contain and clean up the oil, NOAA, as the sole natural resource trustee, initiated the Pre-assessment phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). During this phase, it was determined that NOAA had jurisdiction to pursue a NRDA because injuries were expected to continue, resulting in interim losses of natural resources and services. NOAA then proceeded with the Restoration Planning phase of the case. In this phase, NOAA identified a reasonable range of restoration alternatives, evaluated and identified a preferred alternative, and developed a Draft DARP/EA presenting the preferred alternative to the public. The Draft DARP/EA will be released for public comment. Once the review and comment period has ended, public comments are considered, and the DARP/EA is finalized, NOAA anticipates submitting a claim to the National Pollution Funds Center for the costs of conducting a NRDA and implementing the preferred restoration alternative.

NOAA has a long history of addressing discharges of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and restoration options are available. NOAA worked cooperatively with the Responsible Party during assessment activities. The extent and severity of contamination and its effect on natural resources and their services determined the amount and type of restoration needed to address any associated injuries.

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