Oil that spilled from a grounded tanker into a busy shipping channel between New York City and New Jersey fouled about four miles of beaches Saturday, officials said.
Workers removed about 800 pounds of tar balls that began washing up Friday night along 2 1/4 miles of Midland Beach on the borough of Staten Island, said James Cafaro, supervisor of city beaches on the borough. Tar balls also were spotted as far away as Coney Island, about three miles from the spill site.
The 260,000-gallon spill occurred Thursday when the 811-foot British-owned tanker BT Nautilus ran aground in the Kill Van Kull waterway.
More than 10,000 gallons of the No. 6 heating oil had been recovered by Saturday, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Paul A. Milligan said. The cleanup involved more than 420 workers, skimming boats, vacuum trucks and about 80 other boats, officials said.
A Coast Guard board of inquiry is to begin hearings Monday on the grounding of the tanker and other incidents that since the first of the year have dumped more than 1 million gallons of oil into the waters of New York harbor, four times the amount spilled last year, Coast Guard officials said.