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Coast Guard, Alaska Chadux respond to fuel spill in Prince William Sound (Naknek Spirit)

Date: July 06, 2013
Bob Martinson
Coast Guard 17th District

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard and Alaska Chadux are responding to a reported fuel spill from a grounded fishing vessel in Passage Canal six miles east of Whittier in Prince William Sound, Saturday.

Response personnel are en route to the scene aboard a hired vessel from Whittier to assess the situation. An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed to Cordova, is conducting an overflight of the area.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center received a report from the crew of the 104-foot Naknek Spirit early Saturday that the vessel had run aground with five people aboard and ruptured its starboard fuel tank.  The tank was reportedly carrying 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but crewmembers managed to transfer 1,500 gallons into an intact tank. The vessel is reportedly carrying an estimated total of 10,000 gallons of diesel and 1,200 gallons of gasoline.  The vessel owner hired Alaska Chadux to remove the pollution threat posed by the vessel and to mitigate the impact of the spilled fuel.

“Our priorities are the safety of the responders and minimizing the impact of the grounding to the surrounding environment,” said Lt. Jason Gangel, sector response chief, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We are currently sending Coast Guard personnel and assets to the scene but we will be working cooperatively with our State of Alaska partners and the owner of the vessel.”

No injuries were reported. Weather conditions in the area are reportedly 12 mph winds with 2-foot seas and rain. The site of the grounding is reportedly a Stellar sea lion sensitive area.

The Naknek Spirit is a tender packer homeported in Homer. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding.

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