A ship that sank off Kodiak Island (south coast of Alaska, USA) just over three decades ago diesel fuel has started to leak, which has led to the suspicion that the cause of this latest mishap could be the powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the region last month.
The 42-meter long fishing vessel was hit by a violent wave in 1981, near Marmot Island, and was left adrift in a rocky sea for several days, before being towed ashore and anchored in the bay. It sank in 1989 at Womens Bay, “and has been resting there ever since”, commented Jade Gamble, state spill coordinator, to CoastAlaska.
However, a week after the July 28 earthquake, the first reports of an oil glow were reported over the site. The Coast Guard flew over the area on August 6 and confirmed what appeared to be a spill on about nine square meters of water.
Despite not being clear about how much diesel fuel or other pollutants are still in the ship, Gamble said that “have been able to minimize the leak“, with the aim of ensuring that there is” no catastrophic release of any kind. “
On the other hand, the seismologist Natalia Ruppert, of the Alaska Earthquake Center, reported that there is no certainty that the earthquake was the cause of the fuel leak from the ship, since the epicenter was located about 420 kilometers southwest of the mentioned bay.
There have been other major earthquakes much closer to that location, which would have produced a stronger shaking of the seabed: “Maybe it was a cumulative effect of those multiple earthquakes, which over the years reached a critical stage; it’s hard to say, “he stressed.
The Coast Guard indicated that it is unknown who would have to be responsible for the environmental damage, since the ship does not seem to have an owner, and in this circumstance it has activated the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, to continue monitoring the situation.