Tug Western Mariner
On March 21, 2022, the 83-foot tug Western Mariner experienced a steering failure in Neva Strait, north of Sitka Sound, Alaska, and was forced aground after contact with the 286-foot containerized freight barge it was towing. The barge was undamaged and remained afloat. The tug, containing 45,000 gallons of diesel, began leaking upon running aground.
The U.S. Coast Guard contacted the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator in Alaska and requested initial oil trajectories and fate analysis to learn where the oil could go, and how it might behave in the water. OR&R personnel reported on-scene and assisted responders with SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique) coordination, and continued producing trajectories, weather forecasts, and resources-at-risk analysis. The tug was refloated on March 29, but not before it discharged 5,307 gallons of fuel into the Neva Strait waterway.
The incident occurred during the herring season, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued several seafood safety recommendations for herring egg and other subsistence harvests.