Ship spills hydraulic oil into Puget Sound near Tacoma

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:


(SEATTLE) — The Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), and Washington State Maritime Cooperative (WSMC) are wrapping up their response Tuesday night to a hydraulic fluid spill in Puget Sound.

Investigators learned through interviews with the crew that the ship, the Hyundai Republic, likely lost most of the contents of a hydraulic reservoir, potentially spilling up to 158 gallons of hydraulic oil, into the Blair Waterway in Commencement Bay near Tacoma, Wash.

Residual sheen has been spotted in Seattle but no major spill source has been identified at the ship’s latest mooring.

Responding agencies flew over the area to determine the extent of the spill. They spotted patches in the Blair Waterway. A spill response vessel assessed the spill and recovered any oil that it could.

Oil spilled into water typically forms oily patches that spread out quickly. These oil slicks can cover many acres of water.

All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil hits the water. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.

The cause of the spill is still under investigation. On scene work will resume in the morning.

By Professional Mariner Staff