Western Alaska will have better oil spill response capabilities with a new vessel. The OSRV Ocean Liberty was expected to arrive in Unalaska by the end of March, but the ship is awaiting modifications and clean up of an oil spill in Shuyak Straight near Kodiak has delayed the process.
Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty is excited for the added layer of safety the vessel will bring to the region. In a given year at America’s top fishing port, he says local fuel docks can pump up to 60 million gallons of fuel. Plus, large vessels pass through the region on major shipping routes.
“We all know of the catastrophes we’ve had with the Selendang Ayu, the Kuroshima, and vessels transitioning this area,” Kelty said. “If something happens closeby, this vessel would be able to respond and help assist with any cleanup work.”
The Ocean Liberty was built specifically to respond to spills. It will be the only boat like this in Western Alaska. It is contracted by the Alaska Chadux Corporation.
A similar vessel, the OSRV Sea Strike is based in Kodiak and covers the Alaska Peninsula. The Ocean Liberty should arrive in Unalaska by mid-April.
- A ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat is facing stiff opposition from industry groups, unions and Native corporations in Alaska. That opposition was on full display at an Anchorage hearing on the measure this week.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has contracted a team of real estate experts to help decide what to do with a waterfront property it put up for sale more than two years ago. But the City and Borough of Juneau and would-be developers are losing patience.
- About 50 community members waved homemade signs. Representatives from the Alaska branch AFL-CIO and Alaska Native community also spoke.
- Starting Oct. 1, the airline will fly between St. Paul and Anchorage three times per week instead of four — and between Dillingham and Anchorage two times per day instead of three.