Coast Guard looking for information after reported fuel spill in Shem Creek

Coast Guard looking for information after reported fuel spill in Shem Creek

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The United States Coast Guard is looking for more information after reports came in of fuel spilling into Shem Creek over the weekend.

“Its probably the worst spill I’ve seen in the creek, since I’ve been in the creek over 20 years," said Robert Olsen, a captain at Knot at Work Fishing Charters. "There was a real heavy sheen of diesel fuel on the water, and it had a very fine smell to it. It was very uncomfortable for anyone who was here.”

Witnesses say it happened on Saturday night.

“It was real thick on the water," Olsen said. “You could wipe your hand on the water and move the fuel to the side before you could see the actual Shem Creek water.”

The state’s Department of Health got a report of it later that night. That’s when they passed on the information to the Coast Guard who’s in charge of investigating.

“By time they received notification, it was dark," said Lt. JG Phillip Vanderweit with the Coast Guard Sector Charleston.

He added that oil sheens are hard to see at night. Their investigation has since closed until they can get more information.

“The smell was beyond apparent,” said Thomas Schnitzel, who was eating at a nearby restuarant. “I just walked over the boardwalk and looked down, and it was pretty, good decent size fuel circle.”

But some saw the extent of the spill as far greater.

“It was the entire creek when the water started coming in," Olsen said. “It covered the entire creek. There’s no doubt about that.”

The source of the reported spill is still unknown, and the Coast Guard has since closed their investigation until they can get more information.

They are asking anyone with information to call their National Response Center at (800) 424-8802.

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