M/V Songa Hua Oil Cleanup Continues in Puget Sound

Friday, March 02, 2007
Response teams continue to clean up an oil spill around and underneath Pier 91 at Smith Cove in Elliott Bay today. The main area of impact of the oil appears to be contained underneath Pier 91 of the Port of Seattle. The cleanup is being coordinated with the Port of Seattle. The assessment and labor intensive cleanup of the impacted shoreline is to continue into Friday and possibly the weekend.

Cleanup crews are aggressively working to remove all the spilled oil on the deck and hull of the Songa Hua, and have recovered approximately one gallon of the spilled intermediate fuel oil from Elliott Bay, while oil stains and some recoverable oil are visible on the cement pilings underneath pier 91 and along the rocky "rip-rap" on the shore. The Marshall Islands-flagged bulk grain cargo ship, Songa Hua, spilled approximately 42 gallons of oil into the bay early morning February 28, 2007 while at anchor and refueling from a barge operated by the Olympic Tug and Barge Company.

The Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology are overseeing the response effort. The Washington State Maritime Cooperative (WSMC,) a non-profit cargo vessel owners group representing the Songa Hua, was initially hired as the spill management agency for the vessel and deployed cleanup contractors. WSMC has been replaced by The O'Brien Group to continue the clean up. The cause of the oil release that occurred during an oil transfer operation between the Songa Hua and the barge is under investigation by the Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology.

Approximately 168 gallons of Intermediate Fuel Oil, a heavy dark oil, escaped from a tank air vent on the Songa Hua. Most of the oil remained on deck. The fuel barge crew immediately stopped refueling and set out oil spill containment boom. The Department of Ecology's recently adopted fuel-transfer rule requires such preparation for a spill emergency.

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