Grounded barge spills fuel in Alaska

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The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(KODIAK, Alaska) — The Coast Guard is working with contractors to mitigate the potential pollution threat posed by a derelict barge on the shoreline of Womens Bay on Kodiak Island.

The Coast Guard verified an approximate 300-yard-long, 1-yard-wide, patchy rainbow-colored sheen coming from the vicinity of the barge that has been grounded on shoreline of the southeast corner of Womens Bay for several years. The Coast Guard opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for $150,000, and hired Global Diving and Salvage to assess the situation and help mitigate the pollution threat.

Containment boom has been placed around the barge. Contractors plan to begin pumping product from the barge Saturday afternoon.

Coast Guard pollution investigators from Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak initially responded to a report Thursday morning of a rainbow-colored sheen coming from the vicinity of the barge.

The maximum potential for fuel and or oily waste that remain on the barge and the barge’s owner are still unknown.

"Our job is to ensure the potential for pollution in this situation is mitigated," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Emily Clore, federal on-scene coordinator representative for the case. "The sheening so far is relatively light, and seems to be discharging intermittently, at a slow rate. But protecting the pristine maritime environment surrounding Kodiak Island is our top priority here."

By Professional Mariner Staff