Puerto Rico


Living and damaged coral, showing impact of the ship grounding.

$4.5M for Primary Restoration at T/V Margara Ship Grounding Site in Puerto Rico

In July 2019 NOAA received $4,403,590.98 from the National Pollution Funds Center to provide primary restoration for injuries to natural resources from the T/V Margara ship grounding in 2006. The oil tanker ran aground on a shallow coral reef close to Bahia de Talloboa in Puerto Rico, and was successfully removed a day later. 

As part of the proposed restoration for St. Louis River Interlake, non-native cattail, seen here, will be removed and replaced with native emergent wetland species such as the culturally important wild rice.

2017 Accomplishments Restoring our Nation's Coasts after Industrial Pollution

In 2017, multiple agreements were reached requiring companies to restore natural resources damaged by industrial pollution:

Case Pages:

The San Miguel Natural Reserve was acquired with settlement funds to compensate the public for lost recreational use of the beaches impacted by the spill.

Barge Berman

Oil Spill | San Juan, PR | January 7, 1994


What Happened?

On January 7, 1994, the T/B Morris J. Berman—a 302-foot-long barge loaded with 1.5 million gallons of fuel oilbroke away from its tow line and drifted around near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The barge grounded on a nearby coral reef, rupturing seven fuel holding tanks and released approximately 800,000 gallons of fuel oil into nearshore waters.


A large coral split by the grounding, was part of the initial damage assessment compiled by NOAA. (Sea Ventures Inc. photo)

LNG Carrier Matthew

Ship Grounding | Guayanilla, Puerto Rico | December 2009

What Happened?

On December 15, 2009, the liquid natural gas carrier Matthew grounded on coral reef habitat off the south coast of Puerto Rico near Guayanilla. The vessel was eventually freed from the reef with the assistance of local tug boats.

Broken corals were draped on a floating coral array frame in order to grow bigger. Divers attached Acropora coral fragments, one of many coral types affected by the grounding.

T/V Port Stewart

Ship Grounding | Yabucoa, Puerto Rico | October 2009

What Happened?

On October 27, 2009, the T/V Port Stewart, a tank vessel carrying seven million gallons of oil, struck coral reef habitat off the southeast shore of Puerto Rico near the entrance to Yabucoa Channel. The vessel was eventually freed with the assistance of local tug boats. Extraction activities affected another section of reef approximately 600 feet to the south.

T/V Margara aground with tugs alongside.

T/V Margara

On April 27, 2006, the oil tanker T/V Margara ran aground on a shallow coral reef close to the Bahia de Tallaboa in Puerto Rico. The vessel was successfully removed from the site the following day without leaking oil into the water. However, response efforts and removal of the ship caused significant additional injury to the reef.

The M/V Jireh grounded on Mona Island. (USCG)

M/V Jireh

Ship Grounding | Puerto Rico | June 2012