Cleanup efforts over F/V Saint Patrick oil spill conclude

The effort to contain oil spilled from a fishing boat that sank decades ago in Kodiak’s Womens Bay has concluded. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation which released a statement Friday that all accessible voids within the hull of the former scallop boat Saint Patrick have been cleaned. 

The spill was first reported on August 3, and the response effort kicked into high gear two days later as local residents reported seeing an oil sheen in the area. A double-boom was put in place, to create a perimeter around the site of the Saint Patrick to recover oil. Divers drilled holes into the vessel to access different areas, and collected oil directly within.

When the response teams were demobilized September 14, it was estimated that nearly 12,000 gallons of oily water had been recovered. According to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, no oiled wildlife or impacts to the shoreline had been observed.

A boom has been left in place to collect any residual oil that might escape. It will be monitored for oily sheen, and will be removed when it is determined that the Saint Patrick is no longer releasing oil.

The Saint Patrick was abandoned near Marmot Island in December of 1981, after stormy seas smashed windows and disabled the engine and electrical system. The crew of 12 abandoned ship. Not all of the crew had survival suits and a lifeboat was blown out of reach, according to reports at the time Ten crew members drowned.

The Saint Patrick itself weathered the storm. It was recovered and towed to Womens Bay. It was anchored in the bay for the next few years and sunk at some point in 1989- the exact date is unknown. Divers discovered the leak was caused by pinhole leaks left by rusted-out rivet heads on the boat’s hull.

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