Officials have yet to determine a cause for the sinking of the 71-foot F/V Nordic Viking in the Seward, Alaska, harbor on Dec. 9. The Coast Guard is taking the lead on efforts to clean up fuel and engine oil released after the sinking.

The F/V Nordic Viking sank in the Seward Harbor on Dec. 9. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation photo.

The boat released an unknown amount of marine diesel and other petroleum products into the harbor. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the boat had between 600 to 700 gallons of marine diesel in the hull tanks and 50 gallons of gasoline in the deck tank. The boat had the capacity to carry 2,000 gallons of marine diesel and 500 gallons of gasoline in the tank on the stern.

Following the release, a 1.5-mile sheen stretched south from T-Dock, where the vessel sank.

“The Coast Guard’s main objective is to limit environmental impacts through the containment and cleanup of the release as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Capt. Sean MacKenzie, commander of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “We are working diligently with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and contracted agencies to minimize the impact of this release.”

According to reports, the Coast Guard will use the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to cover removal costs and have hired Alaska Chadux Corp. to respond to the spill.

Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the responsible party is liable for the costs associated with the containment, cleanup and damages resulting from the spill, but the Oil Spill Liability Trust fund can be used as an stopgap source of funding to cover an emergency response.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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