Coast Guard looks for source of oil spill at Dutch Harbor

Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2000

ANCHORAGE -- The Coast Guard was looking Wednesday for the source of a mysterious oil sheen found near crab boats moored in Dutch Harbor.

The Dutch Harbor harbormaster's office reported the spill at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Coast Guard. The spill, which appeared to be waste oil, was estimated at 150 gallons, Lt. Cmdr. Steve McCleary said from the Coast Guard's Dutch Harbor office.

Coast Guard investigators believe the spill was caused by a vessel that left the area, McCleary said.

About 80 crab boats were moored at a cluster of docks near the spill site, McCleary said.

Coast Guard investigators collected samples from three of four boats that left the immediate area between Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon. The Coast Guard was looking for the fourth boat, McCleary said.

The samples will be sent to the Coast Guard's Marine Safety laboratory in Connecticut to determine if any have the same ''chemical fingerprints'' as the spilled oil, McCleary said.

A local contractor cleaned up the spill Wednesday.

The cleanup contractor will initially be paid through a national fund set aside for spills without known sources, the Coast Guard said. If a spill source is found, the responsible party will have to pay for cleanup costs and possibly a Coast Guard fine for not reporting the spill.

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