12-BARREL OIL SPILL IN PAGO HARBOR DEEMED ‘MINIMAL’

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Exxon Valdez in 1989 spilled 750,000 barrels of crude in Alaska

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 13, 2011) – The United States Coastguard in American Samoa says environmental damage from Pago Pago harbour’s largest ever diesel spill is minimal.

The New Zealand-flagged Ocean Breeze, which is owned by the Sanford fishing company, leaked close to two-thousand liters of diesel during a ballast removal operation last week.

[PIR editor's note: Some 2,000 liters is equal to about 528 gallons, or about 12 barrels, measured at 42 gallons per barrels of oil. The oil tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989 spilled up to 750,000 barrels of crude oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

It’s the third incident in three months involving a Sanford vessel in the territory.

The coastguard’s Lieutenant Steven Caskey says good weather hastened the clean-up.

"I would speculate that the environmental impact was minimal, again because we were able to contain the spill very quickly and keep the diesel fuel from spreading across the bay. There was a minimal amount of sheen that dissipated from that after the boom was removed. Most of it was very light surface sheen that burned off within a few hours."

Lieutenant Steven Caskey says the Ocean Breeze is still in port undergoing repairs ordered by the coastguard following an inspection.

He says it’s possible the coastguard will fine the vessel.

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