Nord Auckland oil spill in Kalama

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

Ecology received notification of an oil spill from the bulk carrier Nord Auckland, with 80 gallons impacting the Columbia River. The source of the spill has been secured and no additional oil expected to impact the river.

Summary information

Date of incident:  February 18, 2016

Port of Kalama, WA

Type of incident: Fuel oil spill
Cause of incident: Under investigation
Responsible party: Under investigation

Status updates

February 22, 2016

Oil sheen from the spill was observed past Puget Island. No oiled wildlife have been reported. Cleanup crews completed cleaning the hull of the Nord Auckland on Saturday afternoon. The response is considered over at this time, however, investigation into the cause and volume spilled continues.

February 20, 2016

A barge was positioned next to the Nord Auckland while at anchor and the hull cleaning was completed by 2 p.m. Hard oil containment boom was maintained around both vessels during the cleaning operation, which was conducted by hand-wiping the oil spilled from the vessel.

February 19, 2016

Ecology performed an aerial and on-water boat assessment in the areas affected by oil. Our observations teams spotted light oil sheen streamers near the shorelines on both the Washington and Oregon side of the River. The sheening extended from river mile 60 to 45, which is approximately from Fisher Island extending downriver to Puget Island.

The boat assessment team was able to perform a close inspection of the oil observed by air and determined that it was too thin and weathered to be recovered by mechanical collection methods. Two isolated pockets of oil were observed on the Washington shoreline located on Hump Island (river mile 59) and near Abernathy Creek (river mile 54). Samples were collected to provide laboratory confirmation that the source of oil was from the Nord Auckland.

Wildlife observers reported animal concentrations and species similar to yesterday’s report. In the area impacted by oil, seal lions and harbor seals were observed numbered in the hundreds of animals, and water fowl were observed in the thousands of animals. We have no direct observations or reports of oiled wildlife.

The vessel remains at anchor and cleanup teams are mobilizing equipment to clean the vessel hull. Unified Command composed of Ecology, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Vessel’s representative will remain active through the weekend.

February 18, 2016

Ecology received notification of an oil spill from the bulk carrier Nord Auckland. The initial report was for a spill of waste oil/bunker fuel to their deck, with 80 gallons impacting the Columbia River. The vessel was at anchor near Kalama when the release occurred. The source of the spill has been secured and no additional oil expected to impact the river. The cause of the spill is under investigation.

The vessel made initial notifications and activated their oil spill contingency plan, which started the mobilization of spill response resources and personnel to the scene. A spill response organization, Clean Rivers Cooperative, has mobilized response boats, personnel and oil containment boom to the vessel to contain and recover oil in the immediate area.

Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard have formed a Unified Command with the vessel’s representative and have agreed on initial response objectives and actions. Those include:

  • Ensure the safety of citizens and response personnel.
  • Control the source of the spill.
  • Protect environmentally and culturally sensitive areas.
  • Contain and recovery spilled material.
  • Assess environmentalimpacts.
  • Keep the public and stakeholders informed.

To assess down-river impacts, Ecology and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel performed aerial surveillance. These teams observed oil sheen stretching from the vessel to Longview, and streamers from Fisher Island to Puget Island for a total of approximately 30 miles of oil impacts to the river. Large populations of harbor seals, sea lions, and birds were observed in and near the oiled areas feeding on the smelt run that is currently migrating up the Columbia River System. At present, we have no reports of injured or oiled wildlife.

Tomorrow’s operations will include performing additional down-river boat and aerial assessments to determine if there are any impacted shorelines that require cleanup. We will also be assessing the river for impacted wildlife and are prepared to mobilize oiled wildlife recovery and rehabilitation resources if necessary. Additionally, a barge will be positioned next to the Nord Auckland, and both will be surrounded with oil containment boom so that the vessel can be cleaned

News releases

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact,, 360-407-6990