On July 18, 1994, the T/V Kentucky was reported trailing a 400- by 6-foot blackish sheen on the Delaware River while docked at the Mobil Paulsboro, New Jersey refinery. Weather was light haze, visibility about five miles, temperature 95ºF, winds 12 knots from the south, and calm seas. The vessel arrived at the dock with some bottom damage;apparently she hit a submerged object.
An estimate of 40 to 50 gallons of oil was initially thought lost. The vessel was boomed and lightering of suspected tanks (#3 port cargo tank [PCT] and #4 port ballast tank [PBT]) began. A diver's inspection reported a 2- by 10-foot breech of the hull in #3 PCT above the bilge knuckle, and 30 feet of the bilge keel missing. On July 19 it was reported that oil had breached the containment boom and 200 to 300 barrels were in the water. It was believed that while offloading the cargo in the damaged tank, the water-bottom was upset allowing the oil to escape.
Mobil response team personnel boomed the vessel. The Delaware Bay and River Cooperative (DBRC) launched two skimmers and boomed several pre-identified creeks nearby. Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) responded with its skimming vessel (Delaware Responder). Three additional contractors were hired for the cleanup and a field command post was established at the Mobil refinery. The USCG COTP Philadelphia assumed the FOSC role for this incident. USCG personnel were onscene to monitor cleanup activities. The OSC requested two forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR) overflights (one during the night of July 19; the other the next morning) to help identify the extent of oil migration in the river. The FLIR spotted the oil and helped track its progress. This response lasted about five days.