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Press Release | Sept. 29, 2023

Coast Guard suspends investigation for oil spill at SeaPort Manatee

Public Affairs Detachment Tampa Bay – 305-607-6347

Editor’s Note: Find all imagery, video and photo, at the initial reporting link at the bottom of this release.

Find all U.S. Coast Guard Southeast imagery on Dvids

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Coast Guard federal on scene coordinator suspended the investigation into the source and responsible party for the oil spill at SeaPort Manatee, Tuesday, pending new information.

Since Sept. 1, Coast Guard investigators conducted an extensive search for the source of the spill. This included a thorough physical examination of potential facilities and ships for evidence of any improper discharge of material. A forensic analysis of oil samples from approximately 30 sources, including the spill itself; and sub-surface dive assessment of the port seawalls and basin for any irregularities was conducted. Despite an exhaustive effort, a definitive source for the spilled material was not identified. 

The initial report from the National Response Center | US EPA came to Coast Guard watchstanders at approximately 8:30 a.m., Sept. 1. By Sept. 12, the spill was 99 percent cleaned with all remaining oil residue cleaned by Sept. 21. 

Coast Guard environmental response specialists leveraged The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) (, to clean up the spill. Approximately, $1.17 million from the OSLTF was spent for clean-up and investigation efforts. Approximately, 20,500 gallons of oil/water mixture and 6.4 tons of oily debris was removed from the impacted area. 

“I am pleased that we were able to quickly isolate the spilled material within the port to mitigate impacts to the environment while enabling a focused response and rapid clean-up,” said Capt. Michael Kahle, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander. “Our investigators worked tirelessly in search of the spill source and the responsible party. If anyone has information regarding this spill, please report it to the Sector St. Petersburg command center at 866-881-1392. We ask anyone who sees oil or hazardous materials pollution that may impact the water, to immediately report it to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.” 

Please find the initial reporting of the spill on X (Twitter) @USCGSoutheast.