July 28, 2010
The state Department of Ecology (Ecology) and U.S. Coast Guard are monitoring the 170-meter tug-and-barge Commitment that lost propulsion and went adrift shortly after 1 p.m. today in the Strait of Juan de Fuca about 19 miles northwest of Port Angeles, posing the risk of an oil spill.
The Commitment, owned by Crowley Maritime Corp. is part of a connected tug and barge combination. The tug was pushing a fuel barge containing about eight million gallons of diesel and jet fuel toward Portland when it lost propulsion. The tug itself is carrying more than 100,000 gallons of fuel.
Crowley Maritime called for the tug Jeffrey Foss, the industry-funded emergency response towing vessel stationed at Neah Bay, to assist the barge and prevent an oil spill. The Jeffrey Foss has reached the Commitment.
This is the first time the industry-funded response vessel has been called out to assist a vessel that has lost propulsion in the Strait. The private maritime industry took over funding the tug on July 1, 2010.
The ATB Commitment was able to regain power and propulsion just before 5:00 pm. They are transiting under their own power and are being escorted by the industry funded response tug Jeffrey Foss to Port Angeles where they will anchor and be inspected tomorrow by USCG and Ecology vessel inspectors.
Ecology will continue to monitor the situation. The cause of the power outage and propulsion loss remains under investigation.