AK Tug That Hit Reef, Spilled Fuel Reaches Port

A crippled tugboat the spilled fuel into Alaska

The Associated Press
The tug Pathfinder is surrounded by a spill containment boom on Thursday in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Pathfinder, a 136-foot tug scouting for ice along Prince William Sound’s oil shipping lanes near Valdez, Alaska, was grounded on Bligh Reef late Wednesday.

VALDEZ, Alaska -- A crippled tugboat the spilled fuel into Alaska's Prince William Sound after hitting the same reef that caused the Exxon Valdez oil disaster 20 years ago has reached port.

Crowley Maritime Services spokesman Jim Butler says his company's tug arrived under tow into Valdez early Sunday morning.

He says crews will now work determine how much diesel fuel spilled into the bay after the Pathfinder ran aground on Wednesday.

Butler says they hope to have an answer late Sunday but it could take longer to examine all materials used in cleaning up the spill to make that calculation.

The Coast Guard says that two of its tanks -- containing an estimated 33,500 gallons of diesel fuel -- were damaged.

On two separate occasions, diesel fuel sheens of one mile and three miles spread across the waters, but officials say no animals were injured and the fuel didn't reach land.

The boat is part of a ship escort service created after the Exxon Valdez spilled nearly 11 million gallons of oil in 1989.


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