Pathfinder response winds down

VALDEZ, Alaska – The tug Pathfinder was moored at Port of Valdez early Sunday morning after being safely towed from Busby Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Crews will begin to remove fuel from the vessel over the weekend. A limited amount of diesel fuel will remain on board in order to power ship systems while the vessel’s damage is more fully assessed.

The results of the today’s observation flight did not indicate any sign of fuel spilled during the vessel’s transit to Valdez. Crews are decontaminating boom and recovered fuel storage tanks so they can be returned to standby service in local oil spill response inventories.

The Unified Command is maintaining oversight of the operations as crews shift from recovery of the Pathfinder, to equipment clean up and the damage assessment of the tug. The response will transition to project status at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Crowley remains focused on removing the diesel fuel remaining on the vessel,” said Jim Butler, Crowley information officer. “Once the fuel has been removed, Crowley will conduct a detailed damage assessment of the vessel.”

“Response crews worked long hours during some of the shortest days of the year,” said Steve Russell, environmental specialist with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. “Crews conducted their work with the highest priority on safety and environmental protection.”

The incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard. Crowley is cooperating fully with the investigation while decontaminating the vessels and equipment used and demobilizing resources. Results will be available upon completion of the investigation.

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