A forklift punctured a shipping container filled with fish oil in Unalaska on Thursday, spilling it across a shipyard. Fish oil is considered an environmental hazard, but far less damaging than crude oil. Some of the bright orange oil flowed into a storm drain and into the ocean. Resolve Marine stopped it from spreading more by plugging the drain with gravel and dirt.
A couple hundred gallons of the 5,700-gallon bladder made it into the ocean. But U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Andres Ayure said because fish oil is biodegradable, it’s not too hard on the environment.
“Technically, in large quantities it could be seen as a marine pollutant. But in the quantities that we saw and with the weather we had, it will disperse, emulsify very quickly, and not harm the environment,” said Ayure.
Calm seas made it easier to contain and clean up the fish oil. If it had not spilled, the fish oil would have been shipped off the island and processed into products like fish oil supplements.
Shipping company Matson is responsible for the spill and for the cleanup, which Ayure said can be costly. The Coast Guard is also putting together a report on the incident and Matson could face fines and further penalties.
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
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- An email from Alaska's former first lady sheds new light on the actions that drove Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott from office, suggesting he may have invited a woman into his room, newly released emails show.
- A new Alaska group hopes to overhaul the state's oil and gas tax credit system through a ballot initiative called the Fair Share Act.
- Alaska regulators are considering whether the state should continue replenishing a rural telephone and internet service fund or shut it down.
- Hunters said the proposed Ambler Road would be closed to the public, while conservationists said it would hurt caribou and other wildlife needed by area villages.