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17th District Alaska Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

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News Release

July 08, 2012

Coast Guard 17th District External Affairs Office

Contact: Coast Guard 17th District External Affairs Office


Office: (907) 463-2065

Coast Guard, unified command respond to ammonia leak in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Editors note: Click on images for high resolution photos.

DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska - Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor and Unalaska Fire Department personnel work to contain an ammonia leak on the fish processor vessel Excellence July 7, 2012. The column of water from the fire hose is used to keep the ammonia fumes from spreading. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.  DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska – The tug Double Eagle tows the fish-processing vessel Excellence out of Dutch Harbor in response to an ammonia leak on the vessel July 7, 2012. The Excellence was towed to a mooring ball in Wide Bay to isolate it from the Unalaska community while safely being vented of the ammonia gases. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard and cooperating agencies developed a plan to tow a 353-foot vessel with a significant ammonia leak to a mooring buoy six miles north of Dutch Harbor Saturday to ensure the safety of the local community.

Unified command representatives have determined that the leak poses no danger to the public.

A Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstander received the report of the ammonia leak aboard the Excellence at 1:13 p.m. Friday. The Excellence, which was moored in Dutch Harbor, evacuated all 129 crewmembers from the vessel.

A unified command was created Friday with Coast Guard personnel, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservaiton, Unalaska Fire Rescue, the Dutch Harbor port director, the acting Unalaska city manager, a vessel representative and a facility representative.

The Unalaska Fire Department reported that an unknown amount of ammonia was released, with a full potential of 20,500 pounds onboard the Excellence. Due to an inability to safely access the leak, the fire department set a 500-foot exclusion zone around the vessel and sprayed down the vessel with water in an attempt to reduce the fumes emanating from the Excellence.

The hazardous material team accessed the vessel again on Saturday and measured high levels of ammonia near the affected space, indicating a continued ammonia release.

The unified command met Saturday afternoon and developed a plan to move the vessel to a mooring buoy to ensure the safety of personnel and property.

The tug Double Eagle towed the Excellence to a mooring ball in Wide Bay to isolate the vessel from the community Saturday evening.

An ammonia expert and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hazardous material specialist continues to provide technical expertise to the unified command, and the UNISEA HAZMAT team is providing on-scene response capability.

For more information contact Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg at 907-321-4505. 

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