Derelict barge poses pollution threat

Contractors hired by the Coast Guard are working to mitigate a pollution threat from a derelict barge, after a light, rainbow-colored sheen was observed near the barge on April 25.Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak

Coast Guard pollution investigators at Kodiak are working with contractors to mitigate the pollution threat from a derelict barge in Womens Bay on Kodiak Island after a light, rainbow-colored sheen was observed near the barge.

Coast Guard officials said they had opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for $150,000 and hired Global Diving and Salvage to assess the situation and help mitigate the threat of pollution.

Containment boom is in place around the barge.

On April 27, the contractor pumped 440 gallons of a combination of water and diesel fuel from the barge and another 390 gallons was pumped off on April 28. The total amount of that combination of liquids on the barge is unknown, as are the owner of the barge, which has been grounded in the southeast corner for Womens Bay for several years.

No injuries to wildlife had been reported, but Coast Guard officials said they take such spills very seriously and the investigation would continue.

“The sheening is relatively light and seems to be discharging intermittently, at a slow rate, but that protecting he pristine maritime environment surrounding Kodiak Island is a top priority here,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Emily Clore, the federal on-scene coordinator representative for this incident.