(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Update from Southwest Regional Office: Spill Response issued a warning letter for
this case. The responsible party hired a response contractor and took
responsibility for the cleanup. No further action at this time.
Friday, March 8, 2013 5:00 PM
Cleanup crews hired by a Tacoma shipbuilder removed small orange balls of
lubricant from Maury Island beaches today, under the Ecology Coast Guard
J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp. (Martinac) of Tacoma cooperated in the cleanup
effort. The company uses the material, called Neptune Slip Coat, to lubricate
rails when launching ships.
During a pre-dawn ship launching on Jan. 25, 2013, at the company’s shipyard on
the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, some of the lubricant floated away in the
darkness. Martinac provided shoreline cleanup in Tacoma’s Browns Point area on
Feb. 7 and 8 after residents reported the material on beaches there.
Today’s cleanup covered 2.5 miles of shoreline extending southwest from Point
Robinson. Two five-member crews removed balls of lubricant that ranged in size
from about a quarter inch to about four inches. They also collected beach
materials smeared with the lubricant.
Ecology responded Tuesday to citizen reports of the bright orange material on
the Maury Island shore of Puget Sound’s East Passage between Seattle and Tacoma.
Agency officials connected these reports with the earlier cleanup at Browns
“We appreciate Martinac’s readiness to take responsibility for these cleanups
and see them through,” said Kimberly Medicus, Ecology’s spill response
“In our 90 years building boats in Tacoma, we have always taken our
responsibilities seriously,” said Martinac Vice President Jonathan Platt. “We
regret the release of this material and are fully committed to cleaning it up
wherever it may be found. Ship launches do require lubrication, and we seek and
use materials with the least possible potential for environmental harm.”
The company has been working with Ecology to review its practices to prevent and
recover releases of lubricants when launching ships.
People who see more orange grease balls on beaches should contact
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington State Department
of Natural Resources assisted in the response.
Thursday, March 7, 2013 5:00 PM
Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard will set up a field post at Point Robinson
Park tomorrow morning to coordinate a beach assessment and planning for a
cleanup of the orange globs. In the late morning a professional environmental
assessment team hired by the Coast Guard will map affected areas and gather
samples to aid in planning the cleanup operation.
An Ecology lab assessment today confirmed that the globs contain petroleum
products, making the material eligible for cleanup using federal or state oil
spill contingency funds. The Coast Guard has approved the use of a federal
account. The source of the globs, found washed ashore on Tuesday of this week,
remains unknown. If identified, this party would be billed to reimburse the
government’s costs to respond to and clean up the material.
People who visit the affected beaches are reminded to not touch or handle the
globs, and to keep pets away from the material. Ecology and Coast Guard experts
seek the public’s help in preventing the globs from becoming mashed, which would
complicate and prolong the cleanup.
Ecology’s preliminary assessment found the orange globs primarily along the high
tide line extending at least 2.5 miles from Point Robinson toward Maury Island
Marine Park. Globs discovered elsewhere should be reported to Ecology at
Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:55 AM
Ecology asks that members of the public not touch or disturb the orange
balls. This could smear the material and complicate cleanup. A cleanup plan is
under development. The balls have been observed between Point Robinson and the
Maury Island Marine Park. If you discover balls elsewhere, please inform Ecology
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:00 pm
The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is responding to reports
received today of small balls of a bright orange grease-like material washing
ashore on Maury Island between Point Robinson and Maury Island Marine Park.
The unidentified material may be a lubricant. No source has been identified.
Ecology investigators have found the material in balls ranging in size from
“pencil erasers” to “apples.”
Ecology continues to assess the size of the area affected and is developing
plans to recover the material. Samples have been collected for laboratory
analysis and identification.
Date of Incident:
March 6, 2013
Unknown quantity - Lubrication product
Jan. 25, 2013 lubricant release from J.M. Martinac shipyard in Tacoma
J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp.
March 8, 2013
Washington Dept. of Ecology