Coast Guard continues response for tug grounding incident in Neva Strait

Pictured is the area on March 31, 2022, of where the Western Mariner, an 83-foot inspected tug, ran aground in Neva Strait March, 21, 2022, while towing Chichagof Provider, a 286-foot containerized barge. A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Western Towboat continue to lead the response efforts for the grounded tug. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

The area on March 31, 2022 where the Western Mariner, an 83-foot inspected tug, ran aground in Neva Strait March, 21, 2022, while towing Chichagof Provider, a 286-foot containerized barge.  (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

KODIAK, Alaska — A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Western Towboat continue to lead the response efforts for the grounded tug in the Neva Strait, March 21, 2022.

As of March 29, 2022, the Western Mariner was successfully refloated and towed to a commercial dock in Sitka, Alaska.

The Western Mariner had an estimated 43,500 gallons of fuel onboard at the time of the grounding. During the response all tanks, voids and spaces onboard the tug were inspected and emptied of diesel fuel. Global Diving and Salvage conducted measurements from recovery efforts of clean fuel and oily water mixture. Recovery estimates include approximately 33,040 gallons of fuel transferred from secure tanks to storage, 4,453 gallons of fuel recovered from the damaged tank, and 700 gallons were recovered from skimming operations.

Deployed responders collected 20 cubic yards of saturated sorbent material.

Shoreline cleanup operations were conducted on three sites in Neva Strait following Shoreline Treatment Recommendations developed by the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques (SCAT) Team. Other shorelines in the incident area were determined to be clear of significant and actionable oil presence. Operations included deluge operations that utilize high-volume-low-pressure seawater to flush trapped oil from the beach which was collected by sorbent material.

Environmentally sensitive areas identified by local stakeholders to be at risk were surveyed to assess oil impacts. On Monday, April 4th, the SCAT Team returned to Neva Strait to conduct an assessment of the shoreline treatment operations and determined that one site requires further treatment that will take place the morning of April 5th. Additional assessment on total shoreline cleanup efforts will be conducted in the near future.

No sheening was observed in areas that were opened to state fisheries or test fishing, as is consistent with the State of Alaska’s zero-tolerance policy with respect to fuel contamination of seafood. The unified command has engaged with the Tribes to determine concerns and whether subsistence harvest areas have been impacted due to the incident.

If you see an oil spill or find areas of oil contamination, you can make a report to the National Response Center (NRC) at (800) 424-8802. The NRC will generate a bulletin based on your report that will be sent to the appropriate Federal and State agencies.

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