The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Coast Guard are responding to a diesel fuel spill on Adak Island that is threatening a critical sea otter habitat.
Initial reports are that an estimated 3,000 barrels, or roughly 126,000 gallons, of No. 2 diesel spilled from an underground storage tank as a ship was offloading the fuel to the storage unit Monday afternoon, said DEC on-site coordinator Gary Folley. A diesel smell was noticed in nearby Sweeper Cove, and workers stopped the transfer process, he said.
The fuel tank is owned by Adak Petroleum, which immediately set up booms to try to contain the spill, Folley said.
It is not clear yet whether the spill is spreading into the small-boat harbor and a nearby salmon creek, he said.
Diesel fuel is a light, refined petroleum.
"In terms of toxicity to water-column organisms, diesel is considered to be one of the most acutely toxic oil types," Folley said.
The DEC, Coast Guard and a private cleanup company are on their way to Adak, a far-flung island at the end the Aleutian chain.