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Cleanup complete following fuel spill off Murden Cove

The Widgeon, an oil skimmer operated by Marine Spill Response Corp., tows absorbent pads off Murden Cove Wednesday morning following a diesel spill from the tugboat Catherine Quigg. - Department of Ecology photo
The Widgeon, an oil skimmer operated by Marine Spill Response Corp., tows absorbent pads off Murden Cove Wednesday morning following a diesel spill from the tugboat Catherine Quigg.
— image credit: Department of Ecology photo

Marine crews worked past 10 a.m. Wednesday to cleanup diesel fuel spilled from a tugboat off Murden Cove overnight.

According to Department of Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose, the fuel was spilled late Tuesday night from a tugboat towing a barge south along the east shore of Bainbridge Island.

The 61-foot tugboat Catherine Quigg, operated by Olympic Tug and Barge, was apparently in the process of transferring No. 2 diesel fuel onboard between tanks when between 35 and 50 gallons of fuel were leaked onto the water. The spill resulted in a sheen roughly 100 feet wide and up to three-quarters of a mile long.

DOE, U.S. Coast Guard and state Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the scene. A King County Sheriff's helicopter equipped with night vision equipment was brought in to survey the spill.

A second tugboat was called in to take over the barge and the Catherine Quigg returned to its home port in Seattle.

Spill response vessels under contract with barge company took charge of the cleanup early Wednesday morning and began pulling booms over the water. State officials combed the shoreline between Skiff Point and Yeomalt Point but found no signs of adverse impact from the spill, Altose said.

Cleanup work continued well into the morning until it was determined that the booms had picked up as much fuel as possible.

"There still may be some sheen on the water but there is a point at which the oil is too thin to pick up," Altose said.

DOE and U.S. Coast Guard officials are still determining the exact cause of the spill and fines are possible, Altose said.

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