Cleanup work continues at site of tugboat grounding near Sitka

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Pollution recovery efforts and salvage planning continues in Neva Strait near Sitka where the tugboat Western Mariner went aground after colliding with the barge it was towing early Monday spewing oil into the ocean there.

    Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Blackburn told News of the North Wednesday evening that a total of 3,000 gallons of diesel had been pumped from a ruptured tank.  Approximately 850 gallons have been recovered from the water within the containment boom area.  She added that an estimated 30,000 gallons of diesel remain on board the tug and will be pumped off prior to salvage operations.

    Coast Guard personnel remain on scene to oversee response operations and continue the investigation, according to the petty officer, who also said that they are working with a natural resource agency to assess potential environmental impacts using oil trajectory models.   The Coast Guard is consulting with federally recognized tribes in the area, she said.

    The tug owner, Western Towboat contracted with Hanson Maritime, SEAPRO, and  Global Diving and Salvage to work on pollution recovery and the salvage.



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