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A northern Michigan marina was temporarily closed over the Fourth of July weekend after Tim Allen’s yacht leaked fuel into the water.
Northport Village Marina Harbormaster Bill Rosemurgy told the Traverse City Record-Eagle the spill was first reported late Sunday afternoon. Rosemurgy said the spill is mostly contained within the marina, which remained closed until Monday evening.
According to Leelanau Township Fire Chief Hugh Cook, the leak stemmed from a fuel filter issue on the boat which caused diesel to spill into the yacht’s engine compartment. After the compartment was filled with fuel, the bilge pump dumped the fuel out into the marina.
The actor, a native of Birmingham, Michigan, admitted that the fuel filter gasket popped while he was rounding the corner of Omena Bay. Allen said he was not aware of the leak until it was pointed out to him. Cook confirmed that “I don’t think he had any idea what was going on.”
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“I felt very uncomfortable closing the harbor down for everybody,” the former “Home Improvement” star admitted.
The 69-year-old estimated that 11 gallons of fuel spilled into the harbor. However, Rosemurgy suspected that the number is closer to 30 gallons. He noted that while it may not sound like much, diesel fuel can spread faster because it is more oily in comparison to gasoline.
One eyewitness claimed she saw several dead ducklings, as well as carp and pike in the marina. However, Cook said he does not believe the spill has affected wildlife in the area.
A beach and a playground south of the marina were closed on Monday as well after fuel washed up on shore.
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“I looked at it and said to myself ‘I wouldn’t let my kids swim here, so I’m not going to let anyone else’s kids swim here,’” said Rosemurgy. “That’s about as scientific as it was.”
The U.S. Coast Guard was aware of the spill and oversaw the marina’s cleanup efforts. Officials from Mackinac Environmental and the Leelanau Township Fire Department deployed brooms and hundreds of absorbent pads to clean up the diesel from the water.
As the boat owner, Allen is responsible for covering the cleanup costs.
The marina reopened Monday evening following the cleanup efforts. However, the nearby beach will remain close until the cleanup effort is complete and environmental safety tests prove the waters are safe.
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Allen has remained closely connected to his Michigan roots. In the late 2000s, he became the voice for a series of ads promoting tourism for the state called “Pure Michigan.” He is recognized by many as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Pixar’s “Toy Story.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism