Lightering completed on tug Pathfinder towing operations commencing

VALDEZ, Alaska – Lightering of the Crowley tugboat Pathfinder has concluded after crews removed fuel from the damaged tanks aboard the vessel Friday night.

Crews were able to remove more than 49,000 gallons of a diesel water mix from the damaged fuel tanks.

Crowley response teams working with the unified command have conducted a scrub of any excess fuel from the exterior of the tug in preparation for towing the Pathfinder to Valdez.

The Pathfinder currently remains at anchor south of Busby Island and surrounded by two rings of containment boom with spill responders staged nearby.

“The joint response team has worked diligently to ensure all aspects of the vessel’s transit plan have been addressed to ensure a safe evolution for both the responders and the vessel.” said Cmdr. Darryl Verfaillie, federal on scene commander, and Coast Guard Captain of the Port. “We are now making preparations to tow the tug from its current location to the port of Valdez later today.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Long Island will be enforcing a 200-yard safety zone around the tug while it is under tow to Valdez.

Coast Guard personnel from the National Strike Force have arrived on scene on Saturday morning to provide more technical expertise, personnel support, and towing assistance.

The incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard. Crowley is cooperating fully with the investigation while focusing on continuing to recover the diesel fuel and prepare for towing the tug Pathfinder to the port of Valdez. Results of the investigation will be made available once it is complete.

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