Crews Recover Freighter's Oil
Dec. 07, 1997
DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska (AP) _ Cleanup crews have now recovered nearly 25,000 gallons of thick bunker fuel spilled from a Japanese freighter that went aground near here.
And new information has reduced the estimate for the total amount spilled to somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 gallons, said Petty Officer Adam Wine of the Coast Guard.
The 368-foot vessel lost its anchor and ran aground in heavy seas on Nov. 26 near Dutch Harbor, a busy fishing port 800 miles southwest of Anchorage. Two crewmen were killed.
Officials originally thought the ship was carrying its full capacity of 160,000 gallons of fuel, Wine said. But now it appears the ship had 122,000 gallons aboard when its anchors dragged in a storm and the ship ended up firmly aground.
On Friday, workers removed about 57,000 gallons of fuel from the ship, leaving just residual amounts in the hull.
Then, on Saturday, they began scooping up oil from the 3,500 feet of beach affected by the spill. Workers also were on the job cleaning Summer Lake. Most of the lake's shoreline was oiled by the spill.
About 5,600 gallons were recovered Friday night and Saturday, according to Wine. About 180 workers were involved in the cleanup Saturday, and 25 local residents took an 8-hour course Saturday to allow them to work on the project.
Cleanup was expected to continue Sunday on the beach and lake shore.
So far, 17 dead oiled birds have been recovered, and seven are being treated at a bird-cleaning station in Homer. About 60 live birds with oil on them have been spotted in the vicinity, according to Wine. Some seals and sea otters have been observed, but they don't appear to be oiled, according to the Coast Guard.