December 16, 2017
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Officials examine Dutch ship in Eastport

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff

EASTPORT, Maine — A Dutch ship, which had completed loading bales of wood pulp on Wednesday and was stopped from leaving port Thursday night by the U.S. Coast Guard, remained held in port Sunday.

Coast Guard officials originally said they were concerned about and investigating a possible oil spill from the ship Margit Gorthon.

On Sunday, however, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Rhodes said the investigation was looking into “a lot of other variables.”

Rhodes said there had been no oil spill but that the ship is required to meet minimum shipping stability standards and that an inspection has been ensuring those standards are being met.

Chris Gardner, executive director of the Port Authority of Eastport, said Sunday afternoon that “there was never an oil spill in or around Eastport or Passamaquoddy Bay” last week.

Port officials said the Margit Gorthon is owned by a firm in the Netherlands but is flying the Cyprus flag.

Rhodes said the ship was being detained under international law and he could provide few details as to why the Coast Guard believed that the standards were not being met.

Roland “Skip” Rogers, general manager of Federal Marine Terminals, said the incident was unusual for Eastport, which expected to see 18 ships this year.

“This has never happened here before,” he said Friday. He said rumors that the ship was seized or under armed guard were not true.

Rhodes could not provide any further information and could not indicate when the ship would be released.

“It will be there as long as it takes,” he said.


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