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Crews fight weather to contain diesel spill off Alaska coast

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Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 10:01 am | Updated: 12:08 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Crews are working to contain a diesel spill after a tug ran aground, but bad weather is hampering the effort.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Services says the tug Polar Wind has lost about 6,000 gallons of fuel since it and a barge went aground Nov. 13, on uninhabited Ukolnoi Island, 40 miles from Alaska's Cold Bay.

The Coast Guard says an aerial survey has shown a fuel sheen and crews deployed containment boom to minimize environmental impact.

The Environmental department says there's no sign of impact to wildlife. The site is within designated critical habitat for Steller sea lions and sea otters.

The department says a team aboard the tug has determined that it was carrying 20,500 gallons of diesel fuel, while the barge had about 800 gallons.

It says the response has been hampered by bad weather, with winds at times reaching 40 mph and seas as high as 14 feet.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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