One Year Later: The Tug Western Mariner Oil Spill in Alaska
APRIL 3, 2023 — On March 21, 2022, the Tug Western Mariner ran aground in Neva Strait, north of Sitka, Alaska, resulting in a diesel oil spill. OR&R has been providing support for the response and damage assessment for the spill since the incident occurred.
A group of state and federal natural resources damage assessment (NRDA) trustees are doing preliminary assessment work to determine the extent and severity of impacts to natural resources resulting from the spill. The trustees conducted field assessments in March and May 2022 to collect information about oil exposure and injury to natural resources.
In March 2023, NOAA, along with colleagues from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, returned to the area where the spill occurred to evaluate conditions one year after the spill. The team documented shoreline oiling observations and collected sediment and bivalve tissue samples for chemical analyses. The data collected during the anniversary field assessment will help the trustees understand the magnitude and duration of oil exposure and injuries in marine shoreline habitats.