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Tug Polar Wind and Barge Unimak Trader Grounding

The tug Polar Wind and barge Unimak Trader grounded 40 miles east of Cold Bay, Alaska, Nov. 14, 2012.

The tug Polar Wind and barge Unimak Trader grounded 40 miles east of Cold Bay, Alaska, Nov. 14, 2012.

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

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

SITUATION REPORT

Tug Polar Wind and Barge Unimak Trader Grounding

SITREP #: 2     SPILL #: 12259931901 TIME/DATE OF DISTRIBUTION: 3 p.m. November 15, 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. This is a potential spill incident; no release of fuel or lube products has been observed at this time from the grounded vessels. 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: No spill has occurred. The tug Polar Wind has 18,500 gallons of diesel fuel in its internal tanks. The barge Unimak Trader has 5,000 gallons on-deck fuel stores for the crane, fork-lift and generators located on the deck. The barge has no internal fuel storage tanks and no drums are on board. 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. Investigation is ongoing by USCG.

SOURCE CONTROL: No spill has occurred. 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 has been formed with Northland Services, USCG and ADEC. Multiple over flights are scheduled to evaluate the condition of the tug and barge. Northland contracted Alaska Chadux to mitigate any potential pollution threats, and Global Diving and Salvage to provide incident management. Two over flights conducted yesterday verified that both vessels remain intact and stable. No sheen or evidence of pollution was visible. An initial assessment team is being coordinated to visit the grounding site as soon as weather permits. A team is currently drafting a plan to lighter fuel from the vessels to mitigate pollution threat. Vessels are transiting to the area to offload the shipping containers from the barge. Offloading is scheduled for the middle of next week.

Ukolnoi Island

 

RESOURCES AFFECTED: This is a potential spill. There are no reported impacts to wildlife. The area is used by waterfowl for overwintering including the Stellar’s eiders, which are a threatened species on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sea otters are also present. This population is an ESA-listed population. Harbor seal are present in the area all year. 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 40 kt. Gusts to 55 kt out of bays and passes by late afternoon. Seas 20 ft. Then tonight NW wind 50 kt diminishing to 40 kt toward morning with gusts to 65 kt out of bays and passes diminishing to 55 kt toward morning. Seas 17 ft. Tomorrow: N wind 35 kt becoming NW 25 kt in the afternoon with gusts to 45 kt out of bays and passes in the morning. Seas 11 ft.

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

 

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