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Tug Polar Wind and Barge Unimak Trader Grounding Update #4

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Division of Spill Prevention and Response
Prevention and Emergency Response Program

UPDATED SITUATION REPORT: Tug Polar Wind and Barge Unimak Trader Grounding

SITREP #: 4  SPILL #: 12259931901

TIME/DATE OF DISTRIBUTION: 4:00 p.m. November 17, 2012

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP): Northland Services

INCIDENT LOCATION: The tug and barge grounded on the south side of Ukolnoi Island, which is located approximately 206 miles east-northeast of Dutch Harbor and 40 miles east of Cold Bay, AK (Lat/Long: 55.200, -161.613).

TIME/DATE OF SPILL: The tug and barge grounded at approximately 9:00 p.m. November 13, 2012. The grounding was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard at approximately 10:00 p.m. and ADEC was notified at approximately 11:00 p.m. November 13, 2012.

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED: An assessment team arrived on site the afternoon of Friday November 16 and reported a thin sheen of diesel fuel in the area. Over flights conducted by Global and Northland confirmed the sheen. The assessment team was unable to locate the exact source of the sheen. The amount of fuel and oil on board the Polar Wind has been revised to 20,580 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,800 gallons of lube and hydraulic oils. The barge Unimak Trader currently has 1,200 gallons on-deck fuel stores for the crane, forklift and generators located on the deck. Operational quantities of hydraulic and lubricating oils remain on both vessels.

CAUSE OF SPILL: The tug and barge were transiting from Sand Point to Dutch Harbor when they grounded. An investigation as to the cause of the grounding is ongoing by USCG and Northland Services.

SOURCE CONTROL: The tug Polar Wind is a 78-foot long by 30-foot breadth vessel. The barge Unimak Trader is loaded with a crane, fork-lift, two generators and 90 refrigeration containers; thirty are operational and contains over 1,475,000 lbs of frozen seafood products and 60 containers are empty.

RESPONSE ACTION: The five crew members were rescued from the vessel by USCG. The crew had no reported injuries. A unified command is formed with Northland Services, USCG and ADEC. Northland contracted Alaska Chadux to mitigate any potential pollution threats and with Global Diving and Salvage to provide incident management. On Friday, November 16, an Assessment Team boarded the Polar Wind and discovered significant damage to the tug’s propulsion and steering systems. No flooding of the vessel was observed. A second Assessment Team boarded the Unimak Trader on Saturday November 17, and discovered five of the forward below deck void spaces were under tidal influence. The generators were operational and powering the refrigerated seafood containers. Alaska Chadux placed containment boom around the Polar Wind today to Ukolnoi Island assist in control of the light sheen in the area. They are also deploying additional response equipment from ADEC equipment in King Cove and the Alaska Chadux Response Center in Anchorage. Salvage and cargo vessels are transiting to the area from Dutch Harbor and Homer to begin lightering operations and to offload the shipping containers from the barge. Defueling of the Polar Wind is scheduled to begin in the next few days and offloading the containers from the barge is scheduled to begin the middle of next week.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: There are no reported impacts to wildlife. The area is used by waterfowl for overwintering including the Stellar’s eiders, which are listed as a threatened species on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sea otters are also present; this population is listed as a threatened species on the ESA. Harbor seal are present in the area. The grounding is within the designated critical habitat for Stellar sea lions and the southwest sea otter critical habitat.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Global Diving and Salvage will be developing a salvage plan for ADEC and USCG review. Chadux is developing a lightering plan for ADEC and USCG review. The unified command is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning unless conditions change requiring earlier meeting.

WEATHER: Today: NW wind, 30 kt seas 6 feet heaving freezing spray. Tonight: NW wind, 35 kt seas 8 feet heavy freezing spray. Sunday: NW wind, 45 kts. Seas 10 feet heavy freezing spray. Monday: N wind, 35 kts. seas 11 feet, heavy freezing spray.

UNIFIED COMMAND AND PERSONNEL:
Incident Commander: Kerry Walsh, Global Diving and Salvage
SOSC: Steven Russell, ADEC
FOSC: Captain Mehler, USCG

TIME/DATE OF THE NEXT REPORT DISTRIBUTION: Additional Situation Reports will be forthcoming when the
situation warrants.

AGENCY/STAKEHOLDER NOTIFICATION LIST:
Please refer to the first sitrep distributed November 14, 2012 for the agency/stakeholder notification list.

    

USCG photos taken 11/16/2012

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