Fuel oil spill contained in Port Angeles Harbor
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
An oil spill response boat works next to a fuel barge at the west end of Port Angeles Harbor on Wednesday after fuel was spilled into the harbor.

By Rob Ollikainen and Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — What was initially believed to be an 840-gallon heavy fuel oil spill in Port Angeles Harbor early Wednesday turned out to be much smaller, state Department of Ecology officials said.

Despite earlier reports, the actual spill was between 50 and 100 gallons.

“Most of it stayed on the deck of the barge and didn't go into the water,” Curt Hart said Wednesday afternoon.

The spill was reported at 3:20 a.m. after a fuel barge owned by Harley Marine Services was overfilled during fueling operations at the Tesoro Port Angeles Terminal, said Hart, state Department of Ecology spokesman.

Global Diving and Salvage placed a precautionary oil boom around the barge before fueling began. Pre-booming is required for large-volume oil transfers under state law.

Another boom was placed around the perimeter after the spill was reported.

“The good thing is the Coast Guard did an overflight this morning and found that the oil was contained within the oil spill containment booms,” Hart said.

Ecology, the Coast Guard, Marine Spill Response Corp. and Global Diving and Salvage continued to clean up the site with absorbent pads and vacuum trucks Wednesday.

Ecology and the Coast Guard will investigate the cause of the spill once the oil is gone, Hart said.

Fish and Wildlife officials determined that no birds, mammals or fish were harmed.

“Fortunately, it's just in this area, the ring around the barge,” Hart said.

The Marine Spill Response Corp. maintains a pollution response ship in Port Angeles Harbor, the W.C. Park Responder, which is designed and built specifically to recover spilled oil.

The ship, built in 1992, is approximately 210 feet long, has temporary storage for 4,000 barrels of recovered oil and has the ability to separate oil and water aboard ship using two oil-water separation systems.

A Coast Guard 25-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles maintained a safety zone around the barge Wednesday morning, said Shawn Eggert, spokesman for the Coast Guard.

Three skimming vessels, two response vessels and several workboats were at the scene Wednesday.

Hart said it is important to get the oil out as quickly as possible to prevent it from mixing with water and escaping from the booms.

“We're glad the volume got ratcheted back,” he added.

Information about the spill will be posted as it become available at Ecology's incident Web page at www.tinyurl.com/ajnsm43.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@

Last modified: November 07. 2012 6:21PM
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