June 8, 2010 in Nation/World

Crewman aboard fishing boat exposed to mustard gas

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

The ESS Pursuit is tied up about a half-mile off Fort Taber to undergo inspection from the Coast Guard, New Bedford, Mass., on June 7, 2010.
(Full-size photo)

BOSTON — A Massachusetts doctor treating a commercial fisherman sickened after his boat pulled up canisters of chemicals says tests show he was exposed to mustard gas.

Dr. Edward Boyer, a toxicologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., says the man had painful blisters on an arm and leg. He says the patient is “handling it very well.”

The U.S. Coast Guard said the Massachusetts-based vessel, the ESS Pursuit, caught the canisters Sunday about 45 miles south of Long Island. The crew threw the canisters back into the ocean when the man began developing blisters.

The boat remains isolated off the coast of New Bedford.

The U.S. military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions, including a mustard agent, from after World War II through the 1960s.

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