Oil transferred from disabled Alaska tug

Dec. 26, 2009 at 2:40 PM
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VALDEZ, Alaska, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Salvage crews have completed transferring oil from a disabled tugboat that ran aground on an Alaskan reef to a rescue vessel, observers said.

U.S. Coast Officials in Valdez, Alaska, said efforts to "lighter," or transfer, the oil from two ruptured oil tanks on the tugboat Pathfinder -- which ran aground Wednesday in Prince William Sound -- started Friday night and were expected to take between six and 12 hours, but the Anchorage Daily News said the task had been completed by 7 p.m.

The newspaper said a mile-long sheen of oil had drifted away from the tugboat Friday, the second such spill that had been noted. The first one had been seen Thursday morning, the day after the vessel ran aground on the notorious Bligh Reef.

The Daily News said the discovery of the second sheen had temporarily halted the lightening process as workers scrambled to discover why the fuel had leaked and determined how to prevent another spill.

The newspaper said Bligh Reef is the same rock outcropping that claimed the tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989, causing the nation's worst oil spill at 11 million gallons.

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