Roughly 80 gallons of oil was spilled into the Columbia River by a shipping vessel near Kalama on Thursday morning (Feb 18).

The Nord Auckland, a 618-foot ship flagged in Singapore, reportedly spilled the waste oil during an internal oil transfer.
The cause is still under investigation, but according to Department of Ecology documents, the source of the spill was secured and no additional spills are expected.

“They reported 80 gallons in the river, but it’s important to know that was a vessel’s assessment, not ours,” said Krista Kenner, a spokeswoman for Ecology. “The spill on deck was larger than that.”

Bulker Nord Auckland spills oil into Columbia River during oil transfer

Image: La cuaderna cubana

Ecology said the spill caused a 45-foot-wide and one-half to three-quarters-of-a-mile-long oil slick in the river with oil streamers reaching about 10 miles downstream.

According to U.S. Coast Guard documents, some oil was seen near shorelines and near wildlife areas. The ship reported the spill to the Clean Rivers Cooperative, which had two booming vessels on scene with crews working on the cleanup. The efforts are overseen by the Coast Guard and Ecology.

Around 10:05 a.m. local time, personnel at the National Response Center reported sheening in the water to the watch-standers at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. Pollution response experts from the Portland-based Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit arrived on the scene at around 1 p.m.

Kenner said Ecology staff was doing on-site assessments Friday morning. They saw light sheening at different locations in the river, but didn’t find any significant accumulations. So far, the agency hasn’t found concentrations large enough to warrant a cleanup but was prepared to do so if necessary.

“So far there have been no reports of wildlife directly impacted, though we know there are large concentrations of wildlife in the area,” she said.

Source: TheSeattleTimes