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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ecology fines barge owner $38,500 for this Salish Sea fuel spill

Dec. 15, 2022 Updated Thu., Dec. 15, 2022 at 9:07 p.m.

By Jack Belcher Bellingham Herald

A barge company that spilled fuel into the Salish Sea has been fined $38,500, the Washington State Department of Ecology announced Wednesday.

The barge, carrying 1.55 million gallons of high-sulfur fuel oil, marine gas oil and ultralow sulfur diesel, spilled an unknown amount of fuel due to open hatches during high-seas transport, according to a news release from Ecology.

The barge, operated by Olympic Tug & Barge, Inc., a subsidiary of Centerline Logistics, was being transported from the Parkland Refinery in Vancouver, B.C., to Commencement Bay in Tacoma, Feb. 7, 2021. When it arrived in Commencement Bay, tug crews noticed fuel had “splashed out” of the tanks and was in the water.

The company was fined for spilling oil in water and negligence as it had either failed to close the two of the hatches before departure or was unaware the hatches had opened during transport, the news release said.

There are no reported signs of damage to the natural environment in the Salish Sea, and 267 gallons of oil were recovered from the vessel’s deck.

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