M/V Excellence Springs Ammonia Leak, Towed to Wide Bay, Three Treated for Ammonia Inhalation
An ammonia leak from a yet unidentified cause aboard the 367-foot M/V Excellence caused three to be treated for ammonia inhalation, two of which were transported to Anchorage for further treatment.
The Excellence was at the Dutch Harbor dock when the leak occurred at shortly after 1 pm in the afternoon on Friday. It is suspected that the leak is in a tank is that holding about 5,000 pounds of the pungent substance the vessel uses for its refrigeration/freezer systems. The vessel has over 20,000 pounds of the gas aboard.
All 129 crew was evacuated from the vessel.
According to the Unalaska Fire Department, it is unknown how much of the ammonia leaked out of the tank. The leak continues hampering efforts to close it down.
In response to the incident, a unified command was set up, comprised of Coast Guard personnel, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservaiton, Unalaska Fire Rescue, the Dutch Harbor port director, the acting Unalaska city manager, a vessel representative and a facility representative. That command is responsible for putting together the response plan for the leak.
After spraying the vessel down with water in an attempt to limit the fumes emanating fromm the vessel, a decision was made to tow the 353-foot factory trawler a safe distance from the community. The tug Double Eagle towed the Excellence to Wide Bay, six miles north of Dutch Harbor, where it was secured to a mooring ball there.
With the vessel away from Dutch Harbor, the Unified Command representative announced that there is no danger to the public.
An ammonia expert and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hazardous material specialist continues to providing technical expertise to the unified command and the UNISEA HAZMAT team is providing on-scene response capability.