Monday, February 06, 2006

Oil Spill Updates


Someone on BirdForum posted a link to the Coast Guard report on the Seabulk Pride spill in Alaska. The ship has been refloated. From the report:
The Seabulk Pride was loading refined product at the Tesoro dock in Nikiski when it was struck by an ice floe and broke away from the dock. Approximately five barrels (210 gallons) of heavy vacuum gas oil (HVGO) and unleaded gasoline were released – three barrels onto the vessel deck and approximately two barrels into the water. No further oil has been released.
So it looks like about 80 gallons made it into the water. That is still not good, but not as bad as it could have been. Dave wrote that the docks are closed while an investigation is underway.


Meanwhile, the news from Estonia been getting worse. The new estimate is up to 35,000 dead birds. While only 3,000 dead birds have washed ashore, many more will not be recovered because of frozen seas and because the slick is spread over a large area. The source of the spill has yet to be determined.

Oil slicks are deadly for sea birds because the oil interferes with their ability to stay warm when wet. This disaster will almost certainly take a heavy toll on European populations of many vulnerable Arctic species. Long-tailed ducks are of particular concern, but the slick may also kill predators that eat oiled water birds.