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Tug grounds, spills fuel on Alaska coast (UPDATE)

Feb 16, 2017 08:03 AM

Samson Mariner heads to Seattle for repairs after leaking 1,100 gallons of diesel

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

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The Coast Guard approved a transit plan for the tug Samson Mariner to head south for repairs in Seattle with an escort tug. Both departed Ketchikan on Tuesday.

The barge, St Elias, had temporary repairs made in Ketchikan. The Coast Guard approved a plan for a tug owned by Brusco Tug & Barge Co to tow St Elias and continue to Dutch Harbor. Permanent repairs will be made when St Elias returns to Seattle.

Coast Guard personnel worked in partnership with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Alaska Commercial Divers in response to the grounding of the Samson Mariner. The vessel ran aground and released approximately 1,100 gallons of fuel in the vicinity of Rosa Reef in north Tongass Narrows, Alaska, on Feb. 15.

“Our crews and partner agencies worked tenaciously to mitigate the fuel and bring the Tongass Narrows back to normal, not only for the environment but also the local maritime community,” said Cmdr. Michael Kahle, Coast Guard Sector Juneau chief of response.

No sheen or further pollution has been reported.

PREVIOUS REPORTS

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The Coast Guard, in partnership with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Alaska Commercial Divers continue its response to the tugboat Samson Mariner that ran aground and spilled fuel while towing a barge in the vicinity of Rosa Reef in north Tongass Narrows, Alaska, on Wednesday evening.

Approximately 1,100 gallons of diesel spilled from the tug prior to being patched by Alaska Commercial Divers on Wednesday night.

Samson Mariner has since been refloated and is anchored in Ward Cove alongside the barge it was towing. A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew conducted an overflight with Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan personnel aboard to determine the extent of any possible sheen or environmental impacts. A sheen has been reported in the area and SEAPRO has been tasked with fuel containment and recovery using boom and absorbent pads.

“We are working closely with our partner agencies to recover as much of the spilled product as possible,” said Capt. Shannan Greene, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander. “When spilled, this type of diesel spreads quickly into thin films forming patches of rainbow and silver sheens. We expect the sheen to break up within the next 12 to 24 hours, with scattered sheens potentially still visible under the low wind conditions forecast for tomorrow. Although not expected to impact sensitive areas or wildlife, we routinely collaborate with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to mitigate these risks."

Current weather on scene is 14 mile per hour winds and calm seas.

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan response boat-medium crew and Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan pollution team responded to the tugboat Samson Mariner that ran aground while towing a barge in the vicinity of north Tongass Narrows in Rosa Reef, Alaska, on Wednesday evening.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watch standers received notification via VHF-FM radio from the captain aboard Samson Mariner that his vessel ran aground and had a minor breach in the hull.

Station Ketchikan and pollution responders were immediately launched, arrived on scene, placed boom around the tug and verified that crew of Samson Mariner plugged the breached hull. Samson Mariner has 30,000 gallons of fuel on board and the barge has 40,000 gallons of diesel on board.

Three Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization tugs took the barge to Ward Cove where it will be anchored and assessed for damage.

No damage to the barge or injuries have been reported.

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