Trans-Alaska pipeline shut down

Bad weather interfering with tanker loading combined with full storage tanks at Valdez forced a shutdown of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline Monday night.

Operators stopped pumps along the 800-mile pipeline at 8 p.m.. and planned to hold the line idle in hopes the wind and waves abate around the tanker dock, said Michelle Egan, spokeswoman for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which runs the pipeline.

Tankers can't be loaded when bad weather makes deploying boom around docked tankers too dangerous, or when waves slosh over the boom, rendering it ineffective for containing a spill. Meantime, the oil storage tanks at the tanker port have been filling up because ships haven't been able to load since Sunday morning, Egan said. On Monday night the tanks were 91 percent full.

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