Oil Being Extracted from Tanker Sunk off Long Island Coast by German U-Boat in WWII - NBC New York

Oil Being Extracted from Tanker Sunk off Long Island Coast by German U-Boat in WWII

A team has been at the site of the tanker, named Coimbra, since April 29 and has pumped more than 62,000 gallons of oil since May 11

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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

    • Work is underway to extract oil from a British tanker sunk by a German U-boat off Long Island's south shore during World War II

    • A team has been at the site of the tanker, named Coimbra, since April 29 and has pumped more than 62,000 gallons of oil since May 11

    • The Coimbra was carrying more than 2 million gallons of oil when it was torpedoed in January 1942, killing 36 officers and crew members

    Work is underway to extract oil from a British tanker sunk by a German U-boat off Long Island during World War II.

    A team has been at the site of the tanker, named Coimbra, since April 29 and has pumped more than 62,000 gallons of oil since May 11, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Initial dive operations found the tanker was leaking small amounts of oil.

    The Coimbra was carrying more than 2 million gallons of oil when it was torpedoed in January 1942, killing 36 officers and crew members.

    It now lies 180 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, about 30 milesoff Long Island's south shore.

    The Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are working with a private company, Resolve Marine, to assess and reduce any pollution threats posed by the leak.

    German U-boats sank 148 petroleum tankers and countless other ships near the U.S. Gulf and East coasts.

    Some came harrowingly close to heavily populated areas. The one that torpedoed the Coimbra had ventured just hours earlier along the New York City shoreline, bobbing on the surface near Rockaway Beach, Queens, and in view of Coney Island's Parachute Jump and Wonder Wheel amusement rides, according to "New York at War," a book by Steven H. Jaffe.

    As the torpedo slammed into the Coimbra's hull, it "sent a blinding sheet of fire boiling up into the night sky," Jaffe wrote.

    The government censored information on such attacks and counterattacks, asking that any witnesses keep quiet as a matter of national security.

    But "with the Coimbra's oil and life preservers washing up on Long Island beaches, and survivors reaching shore, a news blackout was impossible," wrote Jaffe.

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