Shoreline cleanup and assessments continued in Alaska’s Neva Strait after the March 21 grounding of the tugboat Western Mariner, according to the Coast Guard.
The 83’ inspected tug ran aground while towing the Chichagof Provider, a 286’ containerized barge. The Western Mariner had an estimated 43,500 gallons of fuel onboard at the time of the grounding and suffered damage to one fuel tank.
During the response all tanks, voids and spaces onboard the tug were inspected and emptied of diesel fuel. Global Diving and Salvage conducted measurements from recovery efforts of clean fuel and oily water mixture.
About 33,040 gallons of fuel were transferred from secure tanks to storage, 4,453 gallons of fuel were recovered from the damaged tank, and 700 gallons were recovered from skimming operations, according to the Coast Guard. The tug was refloated and towed to a dock at Sitka March 29.
Responders collected 20 cubic yards of saturated sorbent material. Shoreline cleanup operations were conducted on three sites in Neva Strait following shoreline treatment recommendations developed by the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques team.
The team determined that other shorelines in the incident area were “clear of significant and actionable oil presence,” according to the Coast Guard. “Operations included deluge operations that utilize high-volume-low-pressure seawater to flush trapped oil from the beach which was collected by sorbent material.”
Environmentally sensitive areas identified by local stakeholders to be at risk were surveyed to assess oil impacts. The SCAT Team returned to Neva Strait April 4. to conduct an assessment of the shoreline treatment operations; they determined and that one site required further treatment and work there was conducted April 5. Additional assessment on total shoreline cleanup efforts will be conducted in the near future.
No sheening was observed in areas that were opened to state fisheries or test fishing, as required by the State of Alaska’s zero-tolerance policy with respect to fuel contamination of seafood. The unified command of the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Western Towboat has engaged with tribes to determine concerns and whether subsistence harvest areas have been impacted due to the incident