Sag Harbor Village Police received two reports of diesel fuel spilling from a vessel docked at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club last week, the latter prompting calls to the United States Coast Guard, which located the departing vessel in Gardiners Bay.
On Wednesday, July 11, Sag Harbor Village Police said they received a call reporting “a slight fuel spill,” at the yacht club. According to the incident report, police spoke with Darrin Dutoit, the captain of the motor yacht NCH who told them two-to-three gallons of diesel fuel spilled out of the fuel vent. Dutoit was issued a uniform traffic ticket by village police for violating village code.
However, on July 12, another caller phoned village police to report the same vessel was discharging diesel fuel again, prompting police to call Sag Harbor Village Harbor Master Bob Bori and the United States Coast Guard after learning the yacht had already left the Sag Harbor Yacht Club. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was also called.
According to the incident report filed with police, “a large amount” of diesel fuel was in the water. The Coast Guard located the boat off Cedar Point in East Hampton.
According to Bori, who said he believed about 10-gallons of diesel fuel had been spilled during the incident, the Coast Guard boarded NCH and said they would conduct an formal investigation into what occurred. The Coast Guard team was unavailable as of press time to discuss the incident.
Bori added that the NYSDEC did issue a summons.
According to the incident report, the Sag Harbor Yacht Club immediately began cleanup procedures. The Coast Guard also sent in its spill response team to deal with the situation, said Bori.
Bori said while he could not confirm the cause of the spill, he believed the rear tank could have been filled to capacity with fuel leading to excess fuel spilling out of the fuel vent. The other possibility for how an incident like this would occur, he said, was if a transfer was being made from one fuel tank to another.
According to Bill Fonda, a spokesman with the NYSDEC, the Coast Guard was leading the investigation, but he believed as much as 80-to-100 gallons could have been spilled off the vessel.
On Wednesday morning, Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait said he was called by the Breakwater Yacht Club after the second spill occurred, the youth sailing program director seeing fuel in the water.
“It was pervasive in the harbor that day,” said Tait. “You could smell it.”