Diesel fuel recovery is ongoing in Prince William Sound

VALDEZ, Alaska – The Crowley tugboat Pathfinder, which grounded Wednesday night on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound is still at anchor south of Busby Island and surrounded by a containment boom with spill responders staged nearby.

Early Friday morning, Crowley began lightering diesel fuel from the Pathfinder’s two damaged fuel tanks. The pumping to remove the fuel started at 12:34 a.m. and stopped at 12:45 a.m. after the lightering team noticed a sheen developing on the surface of the water within the boom. The Crowley lightering team is assessing why the sheen surfaced before continuing. Every effort is being made to remove fuel from the tanks as soon as possible.

Over-flights today identified a 50-foot by one mile sheen that extends beyond the Pathfinder’s boom. Six fishing vessels in consultation with TITAN Marine have been activated to support the response and are skimming the sheen now. The Coast Guard Cutter Long Island is also on scene and a broadcast notice to mariners is going out via VHF CH 16 requesting that vessels transiting the area to minimize their wake.

Yesterday’s over flights identified a diesel sheen east of Glacier Island. The vessel Valdez Star immediately commenced skimming diesel in that area. Today’s over flight by the Coast Guard no longer sees the sheen off of Glacier Island and no impacts to the wildlife have been reported.

Salvage operation TITAN Marine will evaluate the damage to the tug in preparation for towing the Pathfinder back to the Port of Valdezfollowing lightering.

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