June 8, 2010 in City

Canisters sicken clam boat crew

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

BOSTON – A fishing boat dredging for clams off New York’s Long Island pulled up 10 canisters, including one that broke open and released an unidentified chemical that caused two crew members to blister and struggle to breathe, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

The ESS Pursuit took the sickened crew members back to its New Bedford, Mass., port, where emergency medical workers rushed them to St. Luke’s Hospital on Monday morning.

One was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital for further treatment after his condition worsened, Fire Chief Brian Faria said. The other was released in the afternoon, St. Luke’s Hospital spokeswoman Joyce Brennan said.

After learning of the incident, the Coast Guard issued a “captain of the port order,” a rare command instructing the boat to return to port.

The vessel was anchored south of New Bedford under quarantine Monday evening as authorities prepared to investigate and decontaminate it if necessary.

It was not immediately clear what chemical was involved and experts were trying to determine its nature, the Coast Guard said.

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