Two more derailments of oil-bearing trains last weekend, both in Wisconsin, have prompted the Quinault Nation to issue yet another warning about the dangers inherent in such transport.Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com//2015/11/12/quinault-raise-alarm-yet-again-after-two-oil-trains-derail-one-weekend-162410?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections
For those of you who are relatively new to the Pacific NW, there is a history lesson for environmentalists in what we have already fought or had to deal with. The Boldt Decision, The Spotted Owl controversy and subsequent NW Forest Plan, the various incarnations of the Puget Sound Partnership, and also, the history of oil spills are some of these historical precedents. Just last week I spoke before a church group that was full of relatively new people to the Olympic Peninsula, people who are genuinely wanting to engage with the Tribes, and astonishingly to me, some of them did not know what the Boldt Decision was.
I for one, was sent on my current course of hard core activism for protection of our Salish Sea by the Dalco Passage spill. That spill, so ineptly handled by DOE and others, was the basis for my re-engagement in deep activism. It was also the basis of Governor Gregoire forming the Puget Sound Partnership. I felt that I had to bring what limited talent I could to helping avoid another such event. This blog, is one of the outcomes of that anger over the failure of our State agencies to protect our waters.
So that you too, can understand why some of us “old timers” are so hard core. Maybe it won’t take another major spill to get you active. Here’s a quick education care of Sightline, one of my favorite reads. Subscribe to them.
Today’s report has the Barbara Foss at the scene, and is towing the disabled freighter to Prince Rupert. Interesting that it would take a US tug to save Canada from not having appropriate tugs available.
Latest report is that the tow line has detached, but the ship is now 24 nautical miles off the coast and a tug should arrive before dawn on Sunday. The Coast Guard is also trying to re-attach the line. Here’s the AP story, as picked up by the Miami Herald.
While not out of the woods yet, at least the Canadian Coast Guard have put a tow line on the drifting freighter 9 miles off the Haida Gwaii, otherwise known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. They are awaiting tugs to come and try and get this under control. Here’s the Vancouver Sun story complete with photos from the Canadian Coast Guard as of this moment. It’s worth mentioning that freighters are not required to be double hulled vessels, as tankers are.
OLD MASSETT, HAIDA GWAII — Members of British Columbia’s Haida Nation are breathing a little easier, hoping they have avoided an environmental “catastrophe,” now that a Russian cargo ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of fuel is under tow.
The Canadian Forces’ joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria reported the Simushir lost power late Thursday night off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it was making its way from Washington state to Russia.
If you have a subscription to satellite tracking of ships you can follow it from a link off of here.
There is a problem being reported 9 miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, part of the islands otherwise known in non-native circles as the Queen Charlotte Islands. This is home to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This remote and unspoiled beautiful coast is now awaiting whether Canadian officials can muster anything like technical support from having this become the latest in the oil industry’s sordid history of spills in fish rich locales.
Let’s hope that the Canadian coast guard is up to the task, given it’s cuts over the last few years.
The ship is currently about nine miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, at the southeast end of the island.
Called the Simushir, there are 11 crew members on board. The JRCC said the vessel master has sustained an unknown injury and they are sending a helicopter to rescue him.
The ship is carrying mining minerals, 400 tonnes of Bunker C fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel fuel.
25 years later, and the pain and destruction just keeps on keepin on. This is why we are so hard core about protecting us from an oil spill. I want to point out that we should be very proud of the Coast Guard here in the Sound that have done an excellent job of vessel traffic control, and our politicians like Representative Kevin Van De Wege who helped push through the rescue tug at Neah Bay (with the help of the Tribes, many governmental and NGOs too over 15 years of work). There are new threats coming, and the need to be ever vigilant is never going to leave. But we have done a great job up to now. Knock on wood.
Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, there was the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, at the time the nation’s largest oil spill.
The 987-foot tanker, carrying 53 million gallons of crude, struck Bligh Reef at 12:04 a.m. on March 24, 1989. Within hours, it unleashed an estimated 10.8 million gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the water. Storms and currents then smeared it over 1,300 miles of shoreline.
Read the whole story at:
An interesting experiment generates unexpected results. And shows how vulnerable we all are to the massive increase in oil tankers that the Canadian Government is hell-bent on creating in the Straits just outside our windows. This issue is trans-border. The San Juans will be one of the first hit by a major spill. The beaches along the Strait are next.
A small piece of plywood that washed up in Haida Gwaii shows the potentially massive reach of an oil spill in the Salish Sea, say environmental groups studying the risks associated with Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline.
Still, no one apparently has asked or answered whether the Navy was supposed to have been booming the area of the transfer prior to it being done. That is the critical question that could have averted the spill.
From the Kitsap Sun
No major effects seen from oil spill in Hood Canal
BANGOR — An oil sheen on Hood Canal continued to dissipate Thursday, as Navy crews kept mopping up oil spilled at the Navy’s submarine base at Bangor. Volunteers combing the shoreline found no signs of oiled birds or other wildlife, nor has oil been observed on any beach outside Naval Base Kitsap, said Lisa Copeland, spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology. The Ecology volunteers are trained to help implement geographic response plans, designed to mobilize personnel and equipment at environmentally sensitive areas. Anyone who notices any environmental effects from oil in Hood Canal is asked to call the state’s oiled-bird hotline, (800) 22-BIRDS, Copeland said.
To continue reading >>
From the Department of Ecology
Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:30 PM
Monday afternoon, Feb. 10, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, a part of the U.S. Naval installation in west Puget Sound experienced a spill from a waste-transfer system located on a pier into Hood Canal.
As part of the transfer system, a tank exists on the pier and accepts oily waste (water, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, lubricants, etc.) from ships. Monday, the tank system malfunctioned and overflowed. The Navy immediately began responding. They deployed 4000 feet of oil containment boom around the affected area and notified the Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the National Response Center/ U.S. Coast Guard. Early estimations of the spill were 150 gallons.
Early Tuesday, after further investigation and an aerial overflight by the U.S. Coast Guard a large sheen was observed on the water outside of the containment area. The Navy – along with its partners at the Coast Guard, Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) — established a Unified Command Center at Bangor. The spill was reassessed to be up to 2,000 gallons of oily waste.
Wednesday the cleanup continued and the Unified Command held a press conference at Salisbury Point Park, located near the Hood Canal Bridge. Seattle (KOMO) and local media attended.
Thursday morning another overflight was conducted to view the status of the sheen in the canal. Aerial observations showed the sheen in the canal dissipating. Ecology will continue to monitor until there is no threat of harm to wildlife or the environment. Cleanup efforts are focused on the Delta Pier where the product is recoverable.
Cleanup efforts are ongoing and include containing and skimming as much product from the water as possible; implementing local geographic response plans (which include booming naturally sensitive areas at Lofall, Devil’s Hole and Thorndyke Bay); and assessing shorelines.
No harmful effects to beaches, wildlife or marine life have been identified or reported.
The cleanup/recovery process is expected to continue over the next few days. Once complete, Ecology will begin to analyze data and provide information regarding how much product was recovered and its level of toxicity. Tuesday the Department of Health (DOH) issued a ‘precautionary recommendation’ to avoid harvesting or eating shellfish from Bangor north to the Hood Canal Bridge. Once DOH receives sample results from Ecology, they can reassess their recommendation.
Members of the public or community are urged to call 1-800-22-BIRDS if they notice oiled wildlife or beaches.