Diesel Fuel Spill in Seattle Being Investigated

Seattle (WA Dept of Ecology) – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and U.S. Coast Guard are responding to a diesel spill at Seattle’s Terminal 5. The volume of oil spilled to water is currently under investigation.

The spill happened after a successful fuel transfer between a fuel barge and a cargo carrier moored in the west waterway of the Duwamish. Afterwards, the fuel barge’s tug the James T. Quigg began an internal tank transfer, resulting in diesel spilling overboard.

Environmental contractors were already on-scene because of a recent change in state regulations that adds protective measures when fuel transfers of 500 gallons per minute or more are done over water. They were able to quickly respond, place oil containment boom around the tug and collect most of the spilled diesel.

The new state rule that went into effect in October 2007 requires that when conditions are safe, and it is effective to do so, vessels need to deploy boom equipment before starting oil transfers at or exceeding 500 gallons per minute over water. The new “pre-booming” requirements cover all types of petroleum and plant-based fuel products such as crude oil, diesel and bio-diesel fuel and heavy fuel oils. While the moored vessel receiving the fuel transfer was boomed, the James T. Quigg – owned an operated by Olympic Tug and Barge – was not required to use boom.

Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard are still investigating the exact cause of the spill.

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