On December 21, 1992, the barge RTC 380, in tow by the 82-foot tug Janice Ann Reinauer ran aground on Black Ledge just east of the entrance to the Thames River, near Avery Point, Connecticut. At 0525, the tug reported the incident to the USCG and by 0600 a USCG 41- foot patrol boat was onscene and reported an oil sheen on the water. The barge's #1 starboard tank had been holed and approximately 22,000 gallons of #2 diesel was in the water. The starboard hold contained 39,000 gallons; the barge carried about 1 million gallons.
The release of diesel fuel from Barge RTC 380 resulted in the spread of sheen ranging in appearance from rainbow colors to silver to gray over the area from the eastern shore of Fisher Island to the Connecticut River. Most of the shoreline directly impacted by the sheen was composed of rocky shores, manmade structures, and sand beaches. Sheens were observed in very few wetland areas. The spilled diesel persisted as sheen on the water's surface for three days because of the cold temperatures and light winds that slowed evaporation and dispersion.