Shell spill oil recovered; Shannon Point sheen a mystery


ANACORTES — During a hose failure at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery on Saturday morning, 6,300 gallons of Alaska North Slope crude spilled.

Later that same day, an oil sheen was reported west of the refinery near Shannon Point.

The state Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Monday, March 17, that the two incidents are not related.

The spill at Shell actually occurred and was contained on the refinery's property. The oil entered the refinery's sewer system, was recovered by 10 p.m. Saturday, and soil cleanup will continue through the week.

"There will be no penalty issued," Ecology spokeswoman Lisa Copeland said.

"The spill was completely contained and there's no damage to natural resources."

The source of the sheen on the water, however, has been more difficult to pinpoint.

A diesel spill was reported in the area, but the amount lost was unknown and the diesel was not recoverable, Coast Guard 3rd Class Petty Officer Katelyn Shearer said. The Coast Guard believes the spill came from nearby Lovric's Marina, and plans to meet with the marina's operators next week.

"Spills happen every single day," Copeland said, explaining that leaks or accidents are common at fueling stations.

The impact to the environment depends on the product spilled, where it's spilled and how much is spilled, she said.

Ecology issues fines to the responsible parties when spills damage natural resources, Ecology Spill Response Section Manager Dave Byers told oil spill workshop participants in Bay View the same day of these two incidents.

"Even if you don't see (dead wildlife), guess what? Damage has occurred to the environment," he said.

The fines collected go into a coastal protection fund used to purchase shoreline property and complete restoration projects.

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