Washington State Department of Ecology - May 1, 2013

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Fishing vessel owner fined for Seattle oil spill

BELLEVUE – Phoenix Processor LP (Phoenix) has paid a $12,000 penalty issued in January by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) for a 2011 oil spill from one of its fishing vessels to Elliott Bay in Seattle.
 
The 367-foot Excellence spilled 177 gallons of diesel fuel into the bay while taking on fuel at Pier 90 on May 9, 2011. The company promptly reported the spill and organized a cleanup response.
 
“The crew disregarded a set of written instructions that explained how to avoid this spill,” said Ecology’s spill response supervisor, David Byers. “While we appreciate the prompt response to this spill, it’s important to fully and attentively follow fuel transfer plans every time.”
 
Ecology determined that the vessel’s chief engineer failed to follow written instructions and a spill plan that cover the proper procedures and sequence for loading the Excellence’s fuel tanks. As a result, fuel spilled out of an air vent in one of the tanks.
 
Compounding this problem, the crew had failed to properly plug a containment box that could have held back some or all of the spilled fuel. An oil-spill containment boom had been placed around the Excellence before fueling began, which kept the fuel from spreading beyond the immediate waters around the vessel. 
 
Ecology penalties may be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board. 
 
Besides the $12,000 fine, Phoenix paid $3,010 to Ecology for the state’s costs to respond to the spill and oversee the cleanup of oil spilled into the bay. Earlier, the state also issued a $2,547 assessment for damage the spill caused to the public’s environmental resources, based on the amount spilled and the resources it placed at risk. Phoenix paid this assessment in Sept. 2011.
 
The Excellence’s most recent previous spill occurred in 2009 when three gallons of diesel oil spilled from a corroded fill pipe during fueling. 

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Media Contacts:

For more information:

Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)