Trapped Tanker Freed From Rockaway Shores
A 281-foot tanker that ran aground off the Rockaway peninsula last week was stuck in place for three days as crews and the U.S. Coast Guard worked to rid it of more than 672,000 gallons of home heating oil. It was feared that the tanker would breach in the heavy currents in Reynold's Channel and spew the oil on the beachfront, causing an environmental disaster that could have lasted into next summer. The Kristen Polling, transporting the heating oil from terminals in Nassau County to New York City, often travels that route, Coast Guard officials said. Finally, unable to free the barge even on the high tide, tugs and barges took nearly 300,000 gallons off the stuck craft, lightening it enough so that it could float free. The tanker was finally freed Saturday night as 10 vacuum trucks, 10 oil skimmers, 20 workboats and more than 70 workers stood by to contain and clean up any spills, but they were not needed.