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Coast Guard continues to monitor cargo ship container leaks in Port Valdez, Alaska

Date: June 04, 2013
English: The Valdez Marine Terminal of the Tra...
The Valdez Marine Terminal of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is seen from the air, looking east. At left is Port Valdez. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Marine Safety Unit Valdez

VALDEZ, Alaska—The Coast Guard continues to monitor the cargo ship BBC Arizona at the Valdez Container Terminal following discovery of oil leaking from the ship’s containers on Friday.

On Monday the Coast Guard mobilized the Coast Guard Pacific Area Strike Team to augment oversight and monitoring of clean up, disposal and decontamination of the BBC Arizona. The Pacific Area Strike Team, based in Novato, Calif., is a specialized Coast Guard response team, which deploys to assist on-scene coordinators during response operations.

The BBC Arizona’s owner contracted Emerald Services Inc. to actively manage the spill area and mitigate environmental damage until a clean-up, disposal, and decontamination plan is approved by the Coast Guard. Sorbent pads and sausage boom were placed on the deck of the ship, scupper drains secured, and a vacuum truck remains onscene to prevent oily water run-off from the leaking containers.

On Monday, under observation of the Coast Guard, Emerald Services Inc. opened two of the non-contaminated oil shipping containers to determine their internal configuration and assist in determining the cause of the leaks. Each container appeared to contain one plastic oil bladder spanning two-thirds of the container’s internal space.

“We are conducting a thorough examination of the BBC Arizona’s cargo to determine the safest course of action to mitigate additional risk to responders and the local maritime environment during clean-up and decontamination efforts,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Hawkins, Captain of the Port, Prince William Sound. “The ship will remain at the Valdez Container Terminal and cargo operations will not resume until decontamination is complete.”

The BBC Arizona is an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged general dry cargo ship transporting transformers, their accessories, and transformer oil. The ship is operated by BBC Chartering and Logistics with a last port of call of Qinhuangdao, China.