Coast Guard assumes Husky II clean-up in Seldovia, Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the clean-up operations on the 158-foot Husky II in Seldovia today.

The Coast Guard, operating in full cooperation with the City of Seldovia and the Alaska Department of Conservation ADEC, is in the process of contracting Alaska Chadux to conduct clean-up operations. The owner of the vessel has been notified.

“We are working with city and the state toward resolution of their long standing issue with a vessel that is not seaworthy and can not be allowed to continue to deteriorate at the dock,” said Capt. Mark Hamilton, commander Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

The Husky II has been moored in Seldovia for over five years. After visiting the vessel Coast Guard inspectors determined it to be an imminent threat to the environment and public health and welfare. The Coast Guard issued the owner a letter requiring the following four items on Dec. 22, 2008:

  1. The vessel to be encircled with containment boom for the protection of the environment should an unintended spill occur.
  2. The owner to develop a plan to remove the oil and hazardous waste from the vessel and deliver that plan to the Coast Guard within 30 days of the date of the letter.
  3. Within 90 days of the date of the letter complete the removal of oil and hazardous waste.
  4. Not to move the vessel from its current location in Seldovia without notifying the Coast Guard 72 hours prior to movement.

The owner did not comply with the requirement to place boom around the vessel. The Coast Guard, in the best interest of the community and the environment, contracted with Seldovia Oil Spill Team SOS to place containment boom in place and monitor the boom daily. That contract currently remains in effect.

“We really appreciate the Coast Guard and State cooperation on this project,” said Tim Dillon, city manager City of Seldovia. “We want to limit any chance of an oil spill in our harbor.”

A survey of the vessel by Coast Guard marine inspectors and a representative of Emerald Alaska, an Anchorage based waste management firm, revealed 38,800 gallons of diesel and water mixture, hydraulic oil and lubricating fluids and about 1,000 gallons of hazardous waste to include solvents, various containers holding unknown liquids and marine batteries.

The Coast Guard held a meeting with the city manager of Seldovia and ADEC Jan. 26 to discuss the status of the Husky II. The owner did provide a plan to the Coast Guard at the end of the 30 day term, but it was vague and incomplete.

The vessel has been classified as a federal clean-up site and maybe accessed by authorized personnel only. The owner may assume the clean-up at any time by executing the Coast Guard initiated contract or entering into an equivalent contract with an approved response organization.

The Husky II is a World War II era vessel. Currently the engines do not function. According to marine inspectors the vessel is not seaworthy and would need substantial improvements to the engines and hull before it would be allowed by the Coast Guard to sail from Seldovia.

The clean-up is being funded out of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund established by Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The clean-up is currently estimated to cost roughly $450,000. To date about $26,591 has been expended, which can be recovered through pursuit of civil penalties against the vessel owner for up to three times the total costs incurred.

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