Tim the Toolman Taylor

Thanks to Mlive for this:

NORTHPORT, MI – A diesel spill from a Michigan celebrity’s yacht closed an up north marina and adjacent beach during the recent holiday weekend.

Authorities confirmed between 30 and 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the water in Northport’s Marina because of a faulty fuel filter seal on a yacht owned by actor Tim Allen.

The famous Michigander is known for voicing the Buzz Lightyear character in the Disney-Pixar Toy Story film franchise and lending his celebrity voice to the Pure Michigan advertising campaign.

Northport’s marina was closed for about 12 hours after the diesel spill Sunday afternoon, while a nearby beach was closed for a day. Both are now re-opened.

Officials said the spill was reported around 5 p.m. Sunday when Allen’s boat entered the marina.

“He didn’t know what was happening until he pulled into the marina,” said Hugh Cook, Leelanau Township fire chief.

“He himself pulled the fuse on the bilge pump so it wouldn’t eject any more fuel. So, he did a lot of things right himself.”

Officials confirmed the faulty fuel filter seal on the yacht allowed the engine compartment to fill with diesel until the bilge pump kicked on. That’s when diesel began to gush out into Lake Michigan.

Allen told reporters on Sunday that the fuel filter gasket popped out when he rounded the corner of Omena Bay – which is between Suttons Bay and Northport along the Grand Traverse Bay shoreline of the Leelanau Peninsula – and he did not know fuel was leaking until it was pointed out to him.

“I felt very uncomfortable closing the harbor down for everybody,” Allen said.

Northport Harbormaster Bill Rosemurgy said dockhands at the marina were quick to act: They notified those onboard of the leaking fuel and surrounded the vessel with an oil-absorbing boom.

“It was it was fairly well-contained within the marina,” Rosemurgy said. “The wind was helpful. It was blowing into the mouth of the marina, so that helped to contain it. But there was a heavy sheen throughout the entire harbor.”

Emergency responders used about 1,000 absorbent pads to soak up as much of the petrochemicals as possible, and a Mackinaw City-based environmental cleanup crew spent Monday and Tuesday morning on site.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said Allen will be financially responsible for the costs of the cleanup and confirmed he had hired the environmental response crew. Both state and federal officials said no fines are going to be issued because the spill was small, accidental, and caused by a mechanical problem; Coast Guard officials issued a letter of warning.

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