The Washington Department of Ecology is fining Olympic Tug & Barge of Seattle $16,500 for spilling oil into Port Angeles Harbor last November.
The spill occurred when a company-owned fuel barge was overfilled while being loaded with fuel oil.
Ecology determined the Nov. 7, 2012, heavy fuel oil spill occurred because of an error by the barge operator.
More than 1,700 gallons of fuel spilled to the deck of the barge with nearly 50 gallons entering Port Angeles Harbor.
The oil transfer was being conducted at the Tesoro Port Angeles Terminal located at the foot of the spit at Ediz Hook. Olympic Tug & Barge had oil containment boom placed around the barge prior to starting the fuel transfer which helped contain the spill. Ecology requires “pre-booming” of large-volume oil transfers over water as directed by changes to state law in 2007.
“The company cooperated with the authorities throughout the cleanup and assisted them in the investigation into the cause of the incident, ultimately leading to appropriate corrective actions being put into place to prevent a recurrence,” said Sven Christensen, general manager of Olympic Tug & Barge.
Jim Sachet, Spill Response Team supervisor, said, “Even though Olympic Tug & Barge acted quickly to recover oil in Port Angeles Harbor and clean the barge, this spill should not have happened. This is another example of the effectiveness of Washington’s approach to requiring oil transfers to be ‘pre-boomed.’ Without the boom in place as a precaution, the heavy fuel oil would have spread much farther and could have caused significantly more damage. Any spill, regardless of size, causes environmental harm.”