Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alaskan Leader Fisheries Fined for 2013 Oil Spill

Washington state officials have fined Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC $11,000 for a 2013 oil spill of 181 gallons of diesel fuel into Elliott Bay from one of its fishing vessels, the 167-foot catcher-processor Bristol Leader.

The Washington Department of Ecology also announced on Jan. 15 that Alaskan Leader Fisheries was billed $1,715 for the state’s costs of responding to and overseeing the spill cleanup.

The spill occurred while the Bristol Leader was taking on fuel from a tank truck at Terminal 91.

The incoming fuel, intended for empty tanks on the Bristol Leader, went instead to a partly full tank. Officials with the Department of Ecology determined that the vessel’s chief engineer had not followed the company’s written procedures and loading plan, which specified which tanks would receive fuel and in what order, and required the chief engineer to monitor tank levels and valve settings.

“The company could have prevented the spill if they had kept a close watch on the valves and fuel levels,” said David Byers, Ecology’s spill response supervisor.

Fuel flowed out of a fuel tank air vent and filled a surrounding 49-gallon containment bin. The fuel then flowed across the deck and overboard. An oil spill containment boom was placed around the Bristol Leader before fueling began, and kept most of the fuel from spreading beyond waters immediately around the vessel.

The company delivering the fuel to the Bristol Leader made the initial report.

Alaskan Leader Fisheries had no prior Washington spills, and cooperated with the spill cleanup response and follow-up investigation, state officials said.

The company was also issued a $1,966 assessment earlier for damage the spill caused to the public’s natural resources. That assessment was paid in March 2014.

Alaskan Leader Fisheries, with locations in Lynden, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska, is owned by the Alaska Leader Group and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.

Each of these groups consists of individuals who are lifelong fishing families who currently own and operate various fishing vessels in the salmon, longline and pot fisheries of Alaska.

Alaska Leader Fisheries manages the F/V Alaskan Leader, F/V Bristol Leader and F/V Bering Leader, which are owned 50 percent by ALG and 50 percent by BBEDC.

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