PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- Investigators say they don't know yet what caused an overflow on a fueling barge in Port Angeles Wednesday morning, but environmental officials say they do know what kept it from becoming a much bigger problem.
Andrea Unger with the state Department of Ecology's Spill Response Team said the pre-booming of the barge before fueling began helped contain the spill of bunker fuel that spilled into the bay.
Since 2007 a state law has required companies to circle vessels with protective boom every time they refuel. In this case, Harley Marine's contractor, Global Diving and Salvage, pre-boomed the barge before fueling began at the Port Angeles site. Contractors were monitoring the transfer when the alarms sounded and quickly deployed a secondary boom.
Earlier estimates of more than 800 gallons of heavy fuel spilling into the water have been downgraded to less than a hundred. Ecology officials say that is still enough to cause weeks of cleanup if the spill had not been contained by the boom. Now they expect it to be cleaned up in a few days.
Spill responders say they have not found any fish, birds or other wildlife that may have been harmed. The cause of the spill is still under investigation.