A fuel leak from a barge near Hoonah Wednesday morning may have spilled thousands of gallons of gasoline, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
A DEC statement says the fuel barge Leo, operated by Kirby Offshore Services, was under tow earlier Wednesday by the tug Altair near Port Frederick, about one nautical mile from Hoonah. At about 10:30 a.m. Altair crew members a sheen in the water, which was traced back to a two-inch fracture between the raised cargo tank bulkhead and the deck of the barge.
According to Sarah Moore, DEC’s on-scene coordinator for the incident, a temporary seal placed in the fracture has “essentially stopped” the leak, confining it to the deck of the barge and preventing any more gasoline from spilling into the water.
Kirby has pumped four feet of gasoline from the affected tank, which has a capacity of 340,200 gallons, to another tank aboard the Leo. Plans were under way for a complete transfer of fuel from the damaged tank, with Coast Guard approval required for the process to begin.
Moore says company officials weren’t able to provide DEC with an immediate estimate of how much fuel had spilled, pending an assessment of how much fuel had been transferred from the tank.
While the sheen remained visible in Port Frederick Wednesday afternoon, there were no immediate reports of damage to wildlife or the shoreline.
Contact Chris Klint