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Anglers irate as favorite spot ruined
'This makes me sick,' fisherman says


By VICTOR GRETO / The News Journal

11/30/2004
PAULSBORO, N.J. -- John Pearce didn't need the news in the papers or on the TV telling him it had happened to his river again.

When the laid-off boilermaker and avid fisherman left his home in Paulsboro - about 20 miles from Wilmington - to go after striped bass in the Delaware Bay on Saturday morning, he saw helicopters hovering overhead. Then he saw a large ship listing. And he knew.

"I've been living here for 35 years," he said Monday morning, staring off toward the Pennsylvania coastline from a sludgy, rocky, littered and oil-soaked New Jersey beach. "I knew it happened again. This river was just getting back on its feet."

The air was pungent with the smell of crude oil. From Pearce's vantage point in the back yard of a friend's home on the Delaware River, across the water from Philadelphia International Airport, streaks of oil dappled and smeared the water. In the sunlight, they were almost beautiful, like an abstract painting.

To Pearce's right, the Philadelphia skyline framed the long black hull of the Athos I tanker, alone in the water. Less than three days earlier, the tanker had spilled an estimated 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River.

"When I was a kid, I used to swim in this water," said Pearce's friend, Kim Parker.

Pearce and Parker were sad, but they were also angry.

"We were just going to fish the stripers," Pearce said. "Not anymore."

Bob Kelly, a retired civil servant who has lived in nearby National Park, N.J., for more than 40 years, said he fished every day. Or used to.

"This makes me sick," he said. "I don't even want to come down here."

But he did - just like several other moist-eyed anglers, curious residents, duck hunters and deer hunters with rifles slung over their shoulders - to see the desecration of a river that held fond memories and absorbed much of their recreational time.

"This part of the river was clear when I was a kid," said 63-year-old Joe Rile, a volunteer firefighter for the Gibbstown and Repaupo, N.J., fire departments.

"We used to keep our duck boats out here all winter and no one would bother them. Ever," he said.

At a place called Floodgates, N.J., just north of the Commodore Barry Bridge, the southernmost extent of the spill, Rile stood and watched as oil leaked through the gate into a tributary of the river called the Ditch.

Turning from the river toward the Ditch, where some of the best fishing is to be had, Rile's wizened face was downcast. "There are 20 square miles of creeks back here," he said. "There are no ducks around here now. Back in the '50s, '60s and '70s, it was loaded with ducks."

Pearce said he's seen fistfights between fishermen over this area of the river. "People from Delaware, Pennsylvania all come up here to fish, it's so good," he said.

By 2 p.m., workers from Fleet Environmental Services of Bethel, Conn., were cleaning up at the Center Street Ramp at National Park, across from the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard.

Most, in yellow slickers, raked in oil-drenched branches, litter and leaves, filled up black plastic bags, and threw the bags into the back of a van.

Others spread treated sand across patches of oil that had stuck fast to the ramp. One hoisted a string of specially treated nylon pompoms across part of the river near the dock, absorbing the oil, curling it inward toward shore, where other workers raked it into the bags.

Back at Floodgates, Pearce wondered out loud why it took so long to begin the cleanup. He also questioned why the area around Floodgates was not boomed, or protected with absorbent hoselike devices to keep the water clean, and why the best fishing place in the area looked like a sea of oil.

"This is a sportsman's paradise," he said. "They waited three days. That's six tides. I won't be fishing around here for a long time."



[ 11-30-2004, 10:37 AM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 

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I know everyone is resisting to post on this one b/c everyone feels the same way and this can go on and on and on ...
But humans are the only creatures on earth that not only don't ultimately contribute to the well being of our mother earth, but destroy it - ok, my "hippie" line said...
This is so damn discouraging. I realize that I'm a bit hypocritical here (I drive a gas powered vehicle, consume natural resources, etc...) but the state of our planet is quickly becoming a disgrace. From this "spill" aka cluster f***, to the progress report on the chesepeak, to the high mercury contaminants in most of the country's water (PA being the highest).
And the best answer they can give us is "it's not cost effective" to install cleaner running power generators or replace ships with better construction. No, rather, have the FDA issue guidelines for fish consumption. "We plan to roll out improved operations by 2012 that will reduce the amount of pollutants and such." BS!!
It's not "cost effective" for me to replace my catalytic converter around the holidays, but guess what - I don't do it, I can't drive it - talk about a double standard.
WTF
(by the way, if you read this you're bored at work or cared enough to keep reading, thanks for taking the time - just wanted to vent)
 

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Has anyone heard what caused the two punctures in the hull? Do they still not mandate these tankers have double hulls? This is amazing, I used to dolegal work for the DEP and you would just not believe the stuff that we do to mess up where we live. It is sickening, they pursue and fine heavily over petty infractions but when it comes to somthing like this it is a relative slap on the risk. what a mess.
isn't it funny people crate train their dogs b/c a dog will not sh*t where it lives, then there is us, maybe they should be the ones training, i have never fished the delaware for striper but, i guess now i will not even have the chance if i wanted to.
one more question, does anyone know how the spill traveled north against the current, was it just the flowing of the tide or was it something peculiar to an oil slick
 

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Slowly balding, I thought I heard it was double hulled. I thought most of the Bay was sand and mud. Where could this have happened it was in the shipping lane?

Dave Isanski
 

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We need to get off of this oil, it's worse than crack, the technology's there, we just have to start to ween the economy off of it. It may take a long time but we have to start now. It'll clean up the environment & we can finally turn our backs on the mideast for good. They sell us this crap & look what it does to our landscape.

I fish the spring run in the del just about everyday after work. My April & May are now possibly ruined.

The company responsible probably will get a minor slap on the wrist. I'll bet if I went over & crapped all over some Exon/Sun/Sunoco, ect executives lawn the'd lock me up & throw away the key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
SlowlyBalding,
Welcome to the BassBarn.Com,
Glad To Have You Aboard........

I believe they are still unsure what exactly
punctured the hull, and I heard that starting
next year any tanker entering a U.S. Port will
be required to have a Double Hull...
 

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Sucks, It was just starting to get like the way it suppose to be. I was seeing Largemouth and Small mouth right in Timber creek. I even heard of some Musky Rumors.This just puts a damper on fishing. I was looking forward to the spring,and also next summer catching some huge Catfish.
 

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A few different reports are blending here so this may be a bit spotty:
Since the Exxon Valdez accident, boats must be double hulled to enter the USA - BUT not until 2011!!! The exxon spill was in '89 (if I'm correct). So we knew of the danger and the repercussions and accepted to do nothing about it because (again) "it's not cost effective." If it was a global disaster in '89, then it must be a viable danger during our "grace period" of 22 years - un-freakin-believable.
It was a single hull ship carrying crude oil from Venezuala to a Citgo subsidiary located on the deleware. They blame the full moon and weather for moving the spill as much as it did. It was in a "shipping lane" and unfortunatley has entered multiple tributaries/creeks/ and marsh nesting grounds. They ran ships with very technilogically advanced sonar (whatever that means) and found nothing that would have disturbed the ship. The tug captains noticed the spill, they believe it happened near the dock. Although the river is dredged by the gov't, the dock and area is the responsibility of the owner (Citgo).
I don't get it!!!?????????
If an airbag MAY not deploy in a Honda, they recall the car and fix it at the cost of millions - why should this be any different.
Oh, and a representative of the greek shipping company stated "we havn't had an accident in 7 years, we think that's pretty good."
"With great power comes great responsibility" and no one in this industy want to be responsible
 

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men it never ends, [email protected] 1 billon gallons in a 24 hour period premcor spi poly conective, dupont chambers works dupont edgemoor ferro, valero citco, sunoco, conocophillips and on up the river. its cheaper to pay the epa fines then stop dumping or sucking or the run off then lose their buisness waistwater treatment cooling reactors ect. big buisnes calls the shots in this country. they dont care about fish or ducks or people
 

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We are definately stuck with these problems for the time being - there are way to many using oil based derivitives - in our cars and heating our homes, and we really don't have any viable, cost effective alternatives as of right now. my hope is with fuel cell technology that is used in cars it will also makes its way into homes for heating. We got a while to wait to see this though - maybe not in my lifetime.
 

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On Tuesday, the Coast Guard said that the slick has spread sporadically along a 40-mile stretch of river north of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

"Environmental crews continued their cleanup operation Tuesday of the thousands of gallons of oil that leaked last weekend from the Athos One, a 750-foot tanker ship.

The original reports said that 30,000 gallons of oil was spilled into the river, but after the tanker was brought upright Wednesday, Coast Guard officials told NBC 10 News that 473,000 gallons are missing from the damaged tank. It is still unclear how much was actually was spilled in the accident."
Well here ya have it guys,just as I have been saying all along,There reports were 16 times off how much really spilled out.Wont be long before the Bay and Rips are covered with this mess.Its already past Pea Patch island and is spreading quickly.I wish the best for everyone,This is going to affect the WHOLE estuary for years to come,The Delaware is one of the Largest Striped Bass spawning ground in the Northeast,Our future fishery is crumbling before our eyes,Maybe something will finally be done about this mess,HRL
 

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Originally posted by mch:

I'll bet if I went over & crapped all over some Exon/Sun/Sunoco, ect executives lawn the'd lock me up & throw away the key.
Very true!! :rolleyes:

This whole thing just ticks me off. :mad: :mad:
Just watching those birds on TV slowly dying makes me so mad. Its all I can do to not take time off from work & go help.
The alternative energy sources are there but money talks. We won't see them in our life time.
YUCK!!!!!
 

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The delaware river and bay are the breeding grounds for the stripers, I guess this means no striper for dinner for the next 20 years? I guess that would be the same for those blue claw crabs that everyone loves used to be only 1 serving a month now probably 1 serving every 15 years? Sux cause those crabs live in and filter that water, and for that S.O.B. greek company bastard owner to just say 1 accident in 7 years that's pretty good, I'd like to meet him in person and his family and force crude oil down their throats and dump what ever oil that gets boomed up and dump it on greece and see what they say then. I get so pissed off at stupid human mistakes that ruin it for everyone else and us recreational outdoor people who get crapped on everytime something like this happens, government gets pissed but slaps a little million-billion dollar fine to these big companys which is like pocket change for them, and then the government decide to take it out on us and put more restrictions and limitations on our daily limit and catch. If they can make synthetic oil make it at these plants, use the synthetic technology to make gasoline-f*#@k the crude oil. ONE OTHER THING, WHY ARE ALL THESE BIG OIL COMPANIES LIKE SUNNOCO AND MOBIL RIGHT ON THE DELAWARE RIVER? Even if an accident like this never happened, doesn't oil, chemicals and other toxic pollutants leak out of pipes, delivery vehicle, train cars, smoke stacks and rain runoff go into the river-does the EPA ever do studies on this. Besides the the fact that they recieve oil from these tankers can't they do it another way and move thei facilities to a LAND LOCKED somewhat environmentally safe area-like leveling the whole city of CAMDEN and putting the oil refineries there-na, that would make too much sense and cost too much money. Also did anyone notice the trash all along the delaware river banks when watching the coverage of this story on tv or see the pictures in the news paper-look at all the trash along the river banks, it'll make you sick. Sorry about the long VENT and the caps lock in some sentences. I hope some of you fellow barners are as upset as I am or at least understand my point of view and ideas about the oil refineries.
Hope this [email protected]#$t gets cleaned up soon and pray that the fish and wild life affected by this catastrophy aren't harmed for ever and make a healthy recovery. Good luck and tight lines to everyone.
 

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Even worse, it appears they are brazen enough to use this incident for justification to deepen/widen the channel.

It's looking like that's where they are headed. :rolleyes:


"On Sunday, a spokesman for the Greek shipping company Tsakos Shipping and Trading USA pointed to dredging as the problem. The company is paying for the cleanup using private contractors.

"When they talk about dredging budgets being cut in the United States or any country, it has real significance. In order to keep commerce going, it's really important to take care of your waterways," said company spokesman Jim Lawrence."


Originally posted by mch:
I'll bet if I went over & crapped all over some Exon/Sun/Sunoco, ect executives lawn the'd lock me up & throw away the key.
:D Great analogy! Too true.


ONE OTHER THING, WHY ARE ALL THESE BIG OIL COMPANIES LIKE SUNNOCO AND MOBIL RIGHT ON THE DELAWARE RIVER?
$$$. That's the cheapest way to unload millions of barrels a year.

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Sunday's rain and heavy winds dispersed the slick from an initially reported 12-mile stretch from the Commodore Barry Bridge to the Walt Whitman Bridge, to as far north as the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. That's five miles shy of Bensalem, the southernmost tip of Bucks County.
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/111-11302004-408645.html
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The Greek company that manages Athos I said the bottom of the 750-foot vessel appeared to have hit something as it arrived.

?The company?s thinking right now is that the vessel, with a pilot on board and two tugs assisting it, was pushed into what we think must be an uncharted or unknown sharp object which acted like a can opener on the side of the vessel,? said Jim Lawrence, a spokesman for Tsakos Shipping and Trading S.A., manager of the 20-year-old Athos I.

The ship, built in 1983, has double-walled sides but a single metal skin at its bottom. Federal regulations adopted in 1990 eventually will require tougher, more spill-resistant double-hulled ships for all tanker deliveries.

http://www.delawareonline.com/updates/PartofDelawareR.html
 

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And the fish.....


"Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission spokesman Dan Tredinnick said there's been little evidence of fish deaths so far."

"Generally, the immediate short-term impact to ecology has to do with the ducks that get soiled," he said. "The issue of fish is a longer-term water quality sort of thing. For example, dead vegetation stemming from the spill could change the oxygen levels in the water, and some of the chemicals in the oil could begin to sink to the bottom of the river, both affecting the health of fish, he said. So far, fish consumption advisories have not been tightened."
 

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I heard this morning that a short time ago a barge in the delaware lost a 23 foot steel prop, no one thought to go look for it and thats what they believe sliced the hull like a can opener, how can you lose a 23 foot propr and not no where you lost it, absurd...you almost have to admire the recalcitrance, they just dont care what they, 1 accident in 7yrs
whats even better, some insurance company is going to pay for this, the company isnt going to feel much of an impact asides from increase in premiums.
are they accepting volunteers to help with the cleanup like the did with the valdez, why havent I heard anything, does anybody know who we can contact and maybe organize something, there are probably birds, reptiles and mammals all along the banks and estuaries that need cleaning
 

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I wasn't going to post, but reading this got me so fired up, I couldn't help it!

I want to KNOW how they can say that 473,000 gallons of crude oil are MISSING, without acting as though they have a clue what happened to it! ARGHHH! It is very frustrating. You have a 443,000 gallon discrepancy in the spill estimate...if you don't know what happened...FIND OUT!

AND...the company executive who said that should be FIRED. One incident in seven years? I would hate to break it to him, but in his industry where the impact of an "accident" is to devastating, there should be NO ACCIDENTS during the company's entire existence. If there is, that should be it for you! Oh yeah, I don't know how a vessel wouldn't realize it lost a prop. That's ridiculous.

Finally, in the future, the US will only allow double-hulled tankers into our waters. However, I heard and read that this legislation won't be in place until 2010. In my opinion, far too long for fear of another incident.

I really hope and pray that they get this contained and cleaned up as quickly as possible.
 
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