Efforts Ramp Up to Remove Oil From Leaking WWII Tanker Torpedoed Off Long Island Coast 77 Years Ago - NBC New York

Efforts Ramp Up to Remove Oil From Leaking WWII Tanker Torpedoed Off Long Island Coast 77 Years Ago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sunken WWII Tanker Leaking Oil Off Long Island Coast

    It was shot down by a German U-Boat 77 years ago just south of Long Island, now the Coimbra may be leaking some of the oil it was trying to haul to Britain during World War II. NBC 4 New York's Greg Cergol reports.

    (Published Thursday, May 9, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Spots of oil can be seen collecting on the Atlantic 30 miles off of Long Island – oil leaking from a ship that sank 77 years ago

    • U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Kevin Reed says the Coimbra was carrying tanks of machine oil to Great Britain when a U-Boat torpedoed it

    • Technicians stationed above what's left of the Coimbra and thanks to underwater equipment divers have located the leak

    Spots of oil can be seen collecting on the Atlantic 30 miles off of Long Island – oil leaking from a ship that sank 77 years ago.

    U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Kevin Reed says the Coimbra was carrying tanks of machine oil to Great Britain.

    “The tanker Coimbra departed New York on January 15, 1942, when a German U-boat sank the tanker,” Reed said.

    Some of that very oil has been bubbling to the surface since 2015.

    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Resolve Marine Group Aaron Jozef's team began collecting the oil late last month.

    Technicians stationed above what's left of the Coimbra — and thanks to an underwater vehicle equipped with cameras — have located the source of the problem.

    “We were able to identify a pin hole leak,” Reed said.

    Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

    Only a small amount of oil is currently escaping, but the leaking tank is one of at least eight found in the remains of the Coimbra — 185 feet below the surface.

    Questions now remain, like, exactly how much oil is down there? And, is it all in danger of leaking out?

    “Anything sitting under saltwater for that long is going to have some level of corrosion to it,” Jozef said.

    Although a state environmental official says the leaking oil dissipates quickly and poses no major threat, the Coimbra does hold a substantial amount of oil and that's why the effort to remove it is being ramped up.

    As the work continues, crews did pause to remember the 36 aboard Coimbra who died. So far none of their remains have been located.

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