Chelsea Creek is an estuary of Boston Harbor separating East Boston from the City of Chelsea. It is lined with liquefied natural gas tanks and other fuel depots, a couple of small marinas, a number of wharves, barges, and piers in various states of disrepair, plus a huge pile of salt and a satellite parking lot serving Logan Airport, as well as some of the poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods in the Boston Area. When an oil tanker in Chelsea Creek had its fuel tank gouged by an errant tugboat last month, the resulting cleanup was exceptionally efficient (over 80% removed, compared with about 60% in comparable fuel spills elsewhere). Apparently the cleanup effort was under extra pressure because of the imminent arrival of the tall ships flotilla.

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