Washington Coast Oil and Fuel Spills Fully Contained

October 17, 2011

It was a busy weekend for oil and fuel spills around Washington’s coast.

Containment efforts are wrapped up on three oil or fuel spills off the state’s coast. On Saturday, a barge carrying a 5-ton crane that sank in Gig Harbor, and fishing vessel in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway spilled about 100 gallons while transferring fuel.

On Friday, containment and cleanup crews were called to respond to a landing craft that sank around Alki Point 1.5 miles off of West Seattle in Puget Sound.

Both craft that sank have both been brought to the surface and hauled back to land, according to the Washington Department of Ecology. Containment efforts in all three incidents have been wrapped up and most of the pollutants have been cleared via skimming or other clean up methods, according to spokespersons for the department.

The Gig Harbor spill likely involved less than 25 gallons. A spillage estimate from the support fishing vessel is being placed at roughly 100 gallons.

“We’re still trying to determine how much spilled from this landing craft,” said Curt Hart, communications manager for the Department of Ecology. “The potential is 300 to 400 gallons.”

“It was a very busy weekend,” Hart added.

In Gig Harbor the crane barge was successfully refloated and taken to the company’s yard in Tacoma. The vessel’s owner, Marine Floats, put out its own oil boom and absorbent materials, and the Tacoma Fire Department put out another 200 feet of boom. The oil containing boom was also used for the landing craft incident, and “boom has been removed from both incidents,” Hart said.

According to Kathy Davis, also a spokeswoman with the department, the fishing vessel was owned by Trident Seafoods. That spill involved diesel, and during such fuel transfer operations, vessels put out boom ahead of time as a precautionary measure. “So there was boom already in place, and skimmers were used to recover the fuel,” Davis said.

While it was a busy weekend for Washington’s waterways, oil and fuel spills aren’t very rare for the area, Hart said, adding, “Every year we receive about 3,800 reports of oil and hazardous material spills, and we conduct about 1,200 field responses every year.”

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