Coast Guard Investigates Small Oil Spill
by Erik Robinson
The Columbian, March 20, 2009
The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a small oil sheen on the Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver Friday morning. The spill quickly dissipated.
"It dissipated naturally," Coast Guard Lt. Ryan Harry said. "It was a light sheen on top of the water."
He said members of the crew of a ship moored at the port reported the sheen to the National Response Center, which, in turn, notified the Coast Guard in Portland. Harry, which he described as less than a cup's worth, said the sheen measured about 10-by-200 feet before dissipating in the river's current.
Kathy Davis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology, said divers were investigating the hull of the freighter Heranger to discover the source of the spill. She said the spill appears to be small, but small droplets are continuing to materialize near the ship.
"The main focus right now is t try to identify where it's coming from so we can stop it," Davis said.
The Coast Guard took samples from the water and oil aboard the ship, which it suspects is the source of the spill. Both samples are being sent to a laboratory in Connecticut, he said.
The National Response Center has a toll-free phone number available to anyone who notices an oil sheen on the water: 800-424-8802.
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