Incident Responses for January 2018

Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:26

Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries, and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment.

With more than 20 incident responses last month, OR&R started the new year off on a busy note.

Pier Discharge in Astoria, Oregon

On Jan. 19, a rainbow sheen and shoreline oiling extending from the Astoria-Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon to the Hammond Boat Basin in Warrenton, Oregon was reported.

The source of the discharge was identified as a 20-foot-long tank found underneath the Cannery Pier. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the tank had previously been used to heat a boiler for a seafood cannery and has been under the pier since the mid 1900s. The tank was removed from the pier adjacent to the Hotel Cannery Pier on Tuesday, Jan. 30. A total of 2,339 gallons of oil was removed from the recovered tank, which leaves a potential discharge estimate of 1,052 gallons from the 3,381 gallon tank. (To see a video of the tank removal, click here.)

Pollution boom is in place and clean-up efforts are still underway. For more information and updates on this response, visit the U.S. Coast Guard News Room.  

Mystery Spill in Woods Hole Harbor, Massachusetts

On Jan. 22, the U.S. Coast Guard contacted NOAA regarding a mystery spill in Woods Hole Harbor in Massachusetts. The sheen was approximately 100 x 100 yards and oiled parts of the harbor and shoreline including the NOAA Marine Biological Lab. The cleanup of the shoreline is nearly complete.  

More than 20 dead birds have been found, however, the cause of death has not been confirmed and it is uncertain if the birds died as a result of the oiling.

The cleanup and investigation continues and the USCG has identified the Towing Vessel Ocean King as the responsible party. For an update and more information, watch a video of the Jan. 25 Oil Spill Community Forum.

Vessel in Danger off Cape Flattery, Washington

On Jan. 31, the OR&R was notified that a vessel (F/V Sunnfjord), loaded with 800 gallons of diesel fuel, was in danger of sinking off Cape Flattery, Washington. The vessel was heading for Neah Bay, but was in danger of sinking before making it to safety.

In an update on Feb. 1, it was reported that the vessel had sunk. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five fisherman from the flooding ship (Read the full Coast Guard press release here.) NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration has done a trajectory and fate estimate, though no oil release has been reported at this time.

Our Incident News website has information on oil spills and other incidents where we provided scientific support.

Here are January’s incidents, click on the link to find out more:

Moored vessel.
On Jan. 12, 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard notified OR&R of a planned oil and hazmat removal operation from a moored vessel in Gastineau Channel, Juneau, Alaska. An estimated 3,000 gallons of oil and oily mixtures was to be removed from the semi-permanently moored vessel. A discharge has not occurred. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard.