Grounded vessels near Cold Bay leaking fuel

Two vessels that grounded near Cold Bay last week have been leaking fuel.

Environmental responders spotted a light sheen on the water Friday, and laid out boom around the vessels to contain the spill. The tug Polar Wind and the barge it was towing were carrying more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel at the time of the grounding. The barge was also transporting 1.5 million pounds of frozen seafood. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, generators on the barge are still running and the containers remain refrigerated.

As of late Sunday, the response team had suspended their efforts due to weather. They’re hoping to remove the remaining fuel from the tug and barge over the next few days and have other vessels pick up the frozen seafood by the middle of the week.

Ukolnoi, where the vessels beached, is an uninhabited island that’s designated critical habitat for Steller sea lions, Steller’s eiders, and sea otters. The Department of Environmental Conservation says that there have been no reports of wildlife being affected by the spill.

 

View Ukolnoi Island in a larger map