Oil spill cleanup under way north of Kodiak

A unified command has been established and efforts for clean-up operations are under way at the site of an oil spill north of Kodiak that supports northern sea otters and Steller sea lions, both of which are listed under the Endangered Species act.

Eagles, waterfowl and seabirds are likely present and Pacific halibut, Pacific cod, walleye Pollock and Pacific herring also are resent in surrounding waters, DEC officials said.

The spill reportedly happened on Feb. 26 after an abandoned building collapsed at Port William on the southern end of Shuyak Island, some 50 miles north northwest of the city of Kodiak.  Estimated were that the entire contents of the bladder were released, with up to 3,000 gallons of bunker fuel spilled. The owner of the building had not been identified.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation were working with Alaska Chadux LLC, which had a crew heading for the site to begin clean-up operations on Feb. 27.

Response measures were to be refined as initial reconnaissance reports were received.

According to a DEC report, wind gusts exceeding 80 miles an hour pushed a building with the fuel bladder off a dock, causing the bladder to rupture and release its contents. DEC officials said that Alaska Chadux would deploy swift water boom across the bay’s entrance and retrieve the bladder with any remaining contents.

“The Unified Command’s priorities are to limit environmental impacts through the containment and cleanup of the spill as quickly and efficiently as possible, said Capt. Sean MacKenzie, federal on scene coordinator for the unified command.