Tug Grounds on Bligh Reef

A tugboat ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound last night and ripped a hole in its keel, spilling diesel fuel. Crowley Maritime’s “Pathfinder” managed to get free of the reef within half an a hour and make it to calmer waters, where boom was deployed.

The grounding took place not far from the site of the nation’s most notorious oil spill, the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, 20 years ago. A number of vessels are on the scene now, and two divers have had a look at the ripped hull.

They report that about four and a half feet of the “Pathfinder’s” keel is gone. Two fuel tanks lost pressure when the boat hit the reef, and they contained as much as 33,500 gallons. Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr  says an overflight at first light reported an oil slick in the water.

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

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