Issue: January 2001
Local Hero

Accolades for a Baltimore Coast Guardsman who came to the Bay’s rescue.


     Most of us think of the Coast Guard as the white knights who race to our rescue when we’re in peril on the Bay. But when the Bay is in peril from us, who do you think comes running? Coast Guard Lieutenant Nicolas Cucinelli of Arnold, Md., specializes in responding to environmental disasters on the Bay, and his work on two recent cases has earned him special commendation from U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Cucinelli led the Coast Guard’s response to the sinking of the Pequeco II and the Pepco oil spill on the Patuxent River. The Pequeco II, a tank barge, sank in the ice on the Upper Chesapeake last January and threatened to spill liquid sodium silicate. Cucinelli led its salvage before it could dump more than a trace of the stuff. Cucinelli also led the response team that coordinated the clean-up of the April spill at the Pepco Chalk Point Station, which the Coast Guard says dumped more than 125,000 gallons of oil into the Patuxent River.

    In a ceremony last fall, Cohen honored Cucinelli among a dozen Coast Guard active duty staff, reservists and volunteer auxiliaries, who he said are “rarely recognized for the honors they truly merit.”