BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hackers targeted the Colonial Pipeline, which runs right through Maryland, supplying 45 percent of the fuel on the East Coast.
The attack forced the company to shut down over the weekend, essentially turning off the tap for thousands of gas stations.READ MORE: 2 People Rescued After Sailboat Overturns In The Inner Harbor
More than 1,000 gas stations in the southeast have reported running out of fuel, mostly because of panic-buying.
But Maryland Comptroller, Peter Franchot, who’s office regulates fuel in the state, said now is not the time to panic.
“I urge everyone to stay calm,” said Peter Franchot, Comptroller of Maryland.
Franchot said two barges arrived at the Port of Baltimore Tuesday.
“We are lucky in that we have water access, in addition to the pipeline, and the pipeline is now having a problem, were able to get fuel delivered by water and we anticipate more of that,” said Franchot.
The FBI confirming a ransomware group called “Darkside” is responsible for this attack.
In a tweet Tuesday, Governor Hogan says the state is prepared for all contingencies and drivers should proceed as normal.
“While the operators of the pipeline currently anticipate that the disruption is likely to be short-term, we are prepared for all contingencies,” Hogan tweeted. “We will keep Marylanders informed of any significant impacts on our fuel supply. For now, drivers should proceed as normal.”
READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1.1K New Cases & 15 Deaths Reported Sunday
Since Saturday morning, when we activated a statewide response, Maryland has been closely coordinating with the federal administration and local jurisdictions.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 11, 2021
“There will be plenty of fuel in the interim as long as people don’t hoard gasoline in a false fear,” said Franchot.
The comptroller’s office is already working with gas suppliers, offering wavers and temporary permits to allow for easier distribution.
“They have been granted a waiver by the EPA to allow already stocked fuel to be used in the event that its needed… and normally that fuel would not be allowed to be sold until September for emissions reasons, etc., its not going to damage the environment,” said Franchot.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is anticipating Maryland could see prices at the pump spike by up to 7 cents this week. Not only because of the hack, but also the higher summer demand.
“Maryland’s average on Tuesday is 2.92 cents a gallon, that’s actually up 6 cents from Friday,” said Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic
“The price is definitely going up, it just went up in the past 3 days,” said Timmy Johnson, Maryland resident.
The shutdown is also putting airports like BWI and others on the east coast at risk of low fuel supply.
Franchot predicts the impacts could last up to 10 days.
“The government is on top of this and hopefully they’ll be able to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later,” said Franchot.
Colonial Pipeline is expected to be up and running by the end of the week.
In the meantime, the State Attorney General’s office says they are also monitoring for price gouging.MORE NEWS: MVA's Bus Driver Day To Streamline Process For Applicants To Get Commercial License
Meanwhile the governors of North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia issued states of emergencies due to their fuel shortages.