USCG Says Fuel Spilled in Gulf of Alaska No Longer Recoverable

Monday June 1, 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard says 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the Gulf of Alaska last week is no longer recoverable due to "weathering and evaporation."

However Thor's Hammer, which discharged the diesel fuel, did have 3,000 gallons of fuel recovered from a punctured tank.

The vessel was said to have been cleaned and authorised to proceed to Homer where Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Homer personnel were scheduled to conduct a safety examination.

"Ensuring safe navigation and preventing environmental impacts on the vital waters of Western Alaska are two of my highest priorities," said Captain Paul Mehler III, Captain of the Port of Western Alaska.

The vessel will remain in Port Homer until deemed fit for operation.

"Our crews have been working closely with other members of the Unified Command to reduce the risk of further impact to the environment," Mehler added.

Efforts to clean up the diesel fuel spill were undertaken by a Unified Command consisting of representatives from the Coast Guard, Department of the Interior, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, City of Seldovia, and the responsible party.

Earlier this year environmental groups including Transport & Environment (T&E) and Seas at Risk criticised draft legislation intending to protect Arctic waters, saying the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s Polar Code does not address a number of serious problems with increasing marine traffic in the region.