The 125 foot long research vessel Hero sank near Willapa Bay at its berth in Bay Center, Washington. The Coast Guard was notified that the vessel had partially sank and a light sheen of pollution was visible.
Authorities dispatched a response team to the scene and deployed booms and absorbent pads to collect and contain the pollution. No reports of injuries.
The Coast Guard has contracted a salvage company to remove the remaining oil and fuel from the vessel. The operation shall be paid using the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
The 20 meter long towboat Sonny J partially sank on the Mississippi River near Vidalia, Louisiana. The towboat sank with some 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board, but the fuel tank vents remained above water. Reports state the vents have been sealed and a containment boom has been deployed around the vessel. A light sheen could be seen around the Sonny J and absorbent pads were used to collect the pollution. No reports of injuries. The cause of the sinking is under investigation.
On February 16, the 30 meter long tugboat Samson Mariner and 322 foot long barge Saint Elias off Gravina Island on Rosa Reef near Ketchikan, Alaska. The vessels were proceeding to Valdez via the Inside Passage in calm seas when the vessels ran aground on the northeast end of Gravina Island. The Samson Mariner sustained hull damage with a 2 inch gash in the hull rupturing the port fuel tank. Some 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel was released into the water before the crew was able to plug the leak. Authorities were alerted and arrived on scene placing a containment boom around the tug. The Samson Mariner and the Saint Elias were later refloated and towed to Ward Cove.
Reports state there were no injuries and no damage to the Saint Elias which had some 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard and Alaskan authorities continued to monitor the situation while contractors attempt to recover the released fuel using booms and absorbent pads. The cause of the grounding was not reported. The Saint Elias had run aground before in 2011 off the San Juan Islands, Washington.