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Press Release | Aug. 3, 2023

UPDATE: Coast Guard, agencies continue response to diesel spill on Lake Michigan

Aug. 3, 2023

Sector Lake Michigan

Contact: Lt. Heather Stemmerman

(414) 405-6436


MANISTEE, Mich. — U.S. Coast Guard, along with state and local agencies continue to respond Thursday to the motor vessel Manitowoc diesel fuel spill in Lake Michigan.

The motor vessel Manitowoc has activated their response plan and their Oil Spill Removal Organization is on scene at this time working to clean up the spill. The vessel is no longer leaking diesel fuel. Internal fuel transfers lowered the level of diesel fuel in the leaking tank below the hole. The hole has been temporarily plugged and temporary repairs have been made using epoxy.

A U.S. Coast Guard aircraft conducted an overflight Thursday morning. A visible sheen was located between Portage Lake and the Portage Point Wood Reserve. The sheen is estimated to be 2 nautical miles long and .75 nautical miles wide. The closest to shore is .5 nautical miles from the Portage Point Woods Preserve. The Oil Spill Removal Organization is currently underway placing sorbent boom to collect the diesel.

Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard, State and local representatives, along with the Responsible Party are conducting shoreline assessments with no reported impacts.

A Unified Command has been established to oversee and direct cleanup activities. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the responsible party, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Manistee County Emergency Management, Benzie County Emergency Management, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee and Benzie County Sheriff’s Offices and the City of Manistee will be working together in this effort.

Diesel fuel is a hazardous material and can present significant health hazards. The public is asked to stay away from areas that have diesel and not attempt to rescue injured wildlife.

The public is asked to call (231) 723-6241 to report any confirmed sighting of diesel reaching the shoreline.

There is no known or expected impact to drinking water at this time.

The investigation into the cause of the incident is still ongoing.

Updates will be provided via the Ninth Coast Guard District’s Twitter page: @USCGGreatLakes

Requests for additional information may be directed to Sector Lake Michigan’s Public Affairs Officer at (414) 405-6436.