A tugboat follows another tugboat pushing a barge through Buzzards Bay, Mass. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection now requires state-dispatched tugboats to escort double-hulled tank vessels carrying 6,000 barrels or more of oil as cargo while operating in Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Canal, except where otherwise required to be accompanied by another tugboat escort. The 2003 Bouchard 120 spill was the catalyst for the new rules. On April 27 of that year, the barge Bouchard 120 struck an underwater ledge while being tugged to a power plant. At least 98,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil poured into Buzzards Bay. WHOI researchers Chris Reddy and Bob Nelson collected samples from affected beaches and were able to determine the original chemical composition of the Bouchard 120 oil and track how it changed over time.
(Photo by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)