Winds Slowed Diesel Fuel Removal

It’s been over a week since the tug Polar Wind and the barge it was towing grounded off the Alaska Peninsula, and response crews are still struggling to remove fuel and other cargo.

An assessment team was able to board the tug Wednesday, and they’ve determined that the Polar Wind has lost 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel since the accident. The team had hoped to remove the remaining 15,000 gallons by this time, but 100-knot winds and freezing spray have prevented them from going ahead with the fuel transfer. Responders haven’t seen any oiled animals near the vessels.

In addition to the fuel on the tug, there’s also 1.5 million pounds of seafood aboard the barge Unimak Trader. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, generators on the barge are still working and the fish is still frozen.

The weather is supposed to calm down by Saturday. The cause of the grounding is still being investigated.

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