April 1 - 1978: Barge runs aground in canal

1621: Wampanoags sign Peace Treaty with the Pilgrims
6,000 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel oil floating in the canal killed many waterfowl like this oil-covered duck

1621: First Peace Treaty between Native Americans and Colonists

On this day in 1621, the little known first peace treaty between American colonists and the indigenous people here, was signed. Known as the 1621 Wampanoag-Pilgrim Treaty according to History.com, the peace treaty between Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag Nation, and the leaders of Plymouth Colony, acting on behalf of King James I, was signed in April 1, 1621, less than a month after first contact was made between the settlers and members of the indigenous nation.

The Mayflower, with 101 pilgrims aboard, landed on Turtle Island in November 1620 in what’s now known as Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

No contact was made with Wampanoag people at that time, although a scouting party had the first contact with Native Americans at what is today's First Encounter Beach in Eastham, but they were Nausets, not Wampanoags, and the two groups didn't meet.

In December, the explorers went ashore in Plymouth, where they found cleared fields and fresh running water. A few days later the Mayflower came to Plymouth and settlement began.

The first direct contact between Pilgrims and Wampanoags took place in March 1621, and soon after, Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader, paid a visit to the settlement.

After an exchange of greetings and gifts, the two peoples signed a peace treaty agreeing to do no harm to each other, to come to each other’s aid if attacked by third parties and to have equal jurisdiction over offenders: if a Wampanoag broke the peace, he would be sent to Plymouth for punishment; if a colonist broke the law, he would be sent to the Wampanoags.

In addition, the Wampanoag leaders agreed to tell neighboring indigenous nations about the treaty.

This first-ever treaty between Native Americans and Europeans lasted for over a half century until King Philip's War which began in 1675.

1978: Barge spills 6,000 gallons of fuel oil in Cape Cod Canal

The barge "Rhode Island" has a history of oil spills, again in 2001 on Long Island

On this day in 1978, a barge carrying 77,300 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel oil ran aground in the Cape Cod Canal, spilling 6,000 gallons of its cargo before the ruptured tank could be pumped out.

The barge Rhode Island ran aground about 6:30 a.m. near the Bourne Bridge, according to United Press International.

An oil sheen of "2 to 3 miles could be spotted at the mouth of Buzzards Bay and in coves along coastal areas," UPI reported. Coast Guard officials said "it would be at least two days before clean-up operations could be completed."

The incident was one of several involving barges spilling oil in Buzzards Bay and the canal in the late 1960s through the 1970s, including a 189,000-gallon spill off West Falmouth in 1969, a spill of 165,000 gallons near Cleveland Ledge in 1974 and an 81,000 gallon-spill off North Falmouth in 1977.

Same barge continues to spill oil

Globs of oil believed to have leaked from a 350-foot-long tank barge being towed across Long Island Sound washed up along a 20-mile stretch of Long Island's North Shore today. Lieutenant Carroll said the substance was believed to have leaked from the tank barge Rhode Island as it was being towed near New Haven on March 20 by Moran Towing Corporation, whose subsidiary owns the vessel. A six-inch hole in the barge's starboard cargo tank was discovered after crew members reported that the vessel was taking on water on its journey eastward to the Thames River in Connecticut... NY Times.

And again in March of 2001

Early on the morning of 20 March 2001 the tank barge Rhode Island, owned and operated by Moran Towing, departed the TOSCO refinery in Linden, NJ loaded with 48,000 barrels of #6 oil and transited New York City to New Haven, CT.

After the barge departed workers at the TOSCO facility discovered oil around their piers. They initiated a clean-up and notified the US Coast Guard Activities New York. The T/B Rhode Island meanwhile went to anchorage off New Haven, CT and areas had to be cleaned several times as oil continued to wash on shore for several days... NOAA Incident Report.


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