Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leaks Repaired, Troubled Cargo Ship Heads for Mexico

A cargo ship flagged in Antigua and Barbuda that had an unplanned layover at the Port of Valdez, Alaska because of oil leaks has been cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to proceed on its planned voyage to Mazatlan, Mexico.

The Coast Guard issued the BBC Arizona’s owner a federal notice of violation for failure to notify the Coast Guard of hazardous conditions aboard the ship, a violation that slaps the vessel owner with a $5,000 fine.

The BBC Arizona, operated by BBC Chartering and Logistics, was transporting transformers, their accessories and transformer oil when leaks in the oil-filled containers were discovered.  The containers were moved to a shore side decontamination site to be emptied, cleaned and later returned to the ship.

Field tests confirmed there was no presence of PCBs, a hazardous substance sometimes associated with transformer oil. Coast Guard officials said since the non-contaminated oil is a commodity the product’s owner will sell it to the highest bidder, in accordance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations.

The cleanup process involved the Coast Guard, state of Alaska agencies, the city of Valdez, Gallagher Marine Systems LLC, Emerald Alaska Inc., Alaska Chadux, North Star Terminal and Stevedore Co., and several marine survey firms.

The incident began following a small fire and the discovery of multiple leaking oil containers aboard the BBC Arizona on May 31.

Initially the response involved environmental mitigation measures, offloading of all Alaska-bound cargo and construction of a shoreside decontamination area.  Then came the offloading, emptying and cleaning of the oil containers.

Investigation continues into the cause of the container leaks.


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