• Crude oil leaks into Fidalgo Bay

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    ANACORTES, Wash. - There was a scramble to contain an oil spill at the Shell Oil refinery in Anacortes, but not before several gallons spilled in the water and sparked a multiagency response.

    The leak happened as millions of gallons of crude oil were being offloaded just before midnight in Fidalgo Bay.

    Crews were working to offload 5 million gallons of crude oil from one pipeline to another at Shell Oil's refinery dock.

    "There's a valve where those two pipes are attached and the leak was from that valve," said Suzanne Lagoni, a spokeswoman for Shell Oil.  She spoke from outside the company's main Puget Sound gate.

    She says someone on the barge spotted the leak just before midnight Friday.  He activated an emergency stop button. The systems immediately shut down, the valves closed and the offloading operation stopped.

    She was asked if the offloading resumed.

    "No, no, it has not," she said. "There'll be an investigation. And then they'll determine whether they can continue."

    This map shows where that leak happened.

    The crude oil had been transported from the north slope of Alaska to Fidalgo Bay and Shell Oil's dock in Anacortes. Lagoni says even before the leak was discovered, a boom was placed around the area as is standard protocol for oil transfers.

    In all, about 20 gallons of crude oil leaked.  Five gallons of that spilled into Fidalgo Bay.

    "We never want to see oil in the water," Lagoni said. "Our goal is certainly to prevent that. And I think that the point that we want to remember out of this spill is there were plans in place. They were implemented right away. And the situation was contained so that only five gallons made it into the water."

    But even those five gallons had crews working around the clock to mitigate any environmental damage. Lagoni said the oil never slipped past the boom that was already in place around it.

    But federal, state and local agencies are involved in this investigation, presumably to assure it doesn't happen again.

    The cleanup was completed around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. 


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