Oil spill cleanup underway in Port Angeles


The Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Spill Response Corp and Global Diving & Salvage continue to clean up a heavy fuel oil spill in Port Angeles that occurred early Wednesday morning, Nov. 7.


Ecology has launched a webpage for the incident at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/HMS_PortAngeles/HMS_PortAngeles.html. 

The department will post updated information at the site.


The spill occurred after a Harley Marine Services barge was overfilled during fueling operations at the Tesoro Port Angeles Terminal in Port Angeles Harbor.


When the incident was reported to state and federal authorities shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, the reported amount spilled was 840 gallons. Ecology and Coast Guard responders have now determined between 50-100 gallons reached Port Angeles Harbor. Most of the fuel stayed on the deck of the Harley Marine barge.


An over flight of the site conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard this morning showed that spilled oil on the water has remained inside the oil containment boom that was placed around the barge before fuel transfer operations.


Marine Spill Response Corp and Global Diving & Salvage have deployed three skimming vessels, two response vessels and several workboats to deploy more oil containment boom and absorbent materials to remove the oil from the water. Vacuum trucks and other equipment are expected to arrive soon to help these recovery efforts.


Contractors and oil recovery efforts are being paid for by Harley Marine. They are being directed under a unified command involving the Coast Guard and Ecology.


Under state law, Ecology requires pre-booming for large-volume oil transfers over water to provide a first line of defense should a spill occur. Before the Washington Legislature directed Ecology to change its oil transfer rules, spills during oil transfers were a significant source of pollution.


The cause of the spill is under investigation.


All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil hits water. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.