Coast Guard allows Whittier, Alaska facility to resume fuel transfer operations

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard authorized Shoreside Petroleum Inc. personnel to resume conducting mobile fuel transfers in Whittier Thursday morning after deficiencies with their operations were corrected.

Following an annual inspection on the facility Wednesday the Coast Guard ordered the facility to cease fuel transfer operations until necessary spill response resources were contracted for, an associated response plan was developed and documentation was updated.

The purpose of the response plan is to provide direction for employees and local responders to handle a fuel spill should one occur. The company has contracted for use of response equipment stored on site from several providers. The development of a response plan has remained an outstanding issue since the facility’s 2007 annual inspection.

“Our goal is to ensure the facility has the capability to mitigate pollution and respond to a spill if one occurs,” said Capt. Mark Hamilton, commander Sector Anchorage and Captain of the Port Western Alaska. “By doing so they are in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations governing fuel transfers.”

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage personnel worked with Shoreside Petroleum officials to overcome the challenges facing operations Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to limit the effect to marine transportation. Operations were resumed prior to the arrival of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Aurora at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Shoreside Petroleum Inc. uses fuel trucks to service the ferries, vessels that have a fuel capacity of 250 barrels or greater. Thus the operation is considered a mobile facility. Shoreside Petroleum Inc. also operates a marine fueling facility in Whittier. This facility fuels smaller unregulated vessels and therefore this portion of their operation is not subject to the regulations for fuel transfers.

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