Mystery Bilge Dump Fouls Kodiak Harbors



A jellyfish can be seen below the layer of diesel fuel and oil near the south entrance to St. Herman Harbor on Sunday. Pam Foreman photo

Jay Barrett/KMXT

Officials are unsure about the source of contamination in the waters around downtown Kodiak. A diesel odor and sheen was noticed on the south end of Near Island over the weekend. The harbormaster’s office and the Coast Guard have been investigating. Harbormaster Marty Owen says he suspects the pollution is from a ship that may have pumped its bilge after the heavy rains on Saturday.

Owen says he took investigators from the Marine Safety Detachment out Monday to investigate, after they surveyed the sheen from atop Pillar Mountain. They boarded two floating processors anchored up offshore, but found them to clean and not the likely source of the pollution.

Lieutenant Matthew Zinn is the supervisor at the Marine Safety Detachment in Kodiak. He agrees the spill could be a couple hundred gallons in size. He says as of yet, they’ve been unable to pinpoint a source of the pollution.

He says samples were taken of the oil, and chemical analysis could match it to a source if one is identified.

Until then, Zinn says there’s not much that can be done now that the spill has spread out.

Neither Zinn nor Owen have seen or heard reports of dead seabirds or marine mammals, but they encourage anyone who does spot any to give them a call.

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