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.
- The Dunleavy administration's budget doesn't include funding to pay back residents for the reductions in permanent fund dividends from the last three years.
- There’s a heavy demand from scientists to use the Coast Guard's icebreakers to do research in Arctic waters. But with only two icebreakers in its entire fleet, the Coast Guard’s capabilities are limited.
- BP is undertaking a massive effort to get the clearest picture yet of what the Prudhoe Bay oil field looks like. The idea is that, after all these years, there's more oil at Prudhoe Bay to drill, but it's in smaller, harder-to-find pockets.
- According to an annual NOAA Fisheries report released Thursday, the Port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with 769 million pounds of seafood landed in 2017, worth $173 million.