Lessons learned from 2004 oil spill off Unalaska Island

The two halves of the Malaysian cargo ship Selendang Ayu are pounded by waves as it sits offshore of Skan Bay on Unalaska Island near Unalaska, Alaska, in the Aleutian Island chain Saturday, 11 December, 2004. AFP PHOTO/HO/US Coast Guard Eight years ago this month, the Selendang Ayu, a freighter from Malaysia broke in half while travelling the Alaskan Archipelago.

Three-hundred and fifty thousand gallons of oil leaked from the ship causing extensive environmental damage.

Now, several environmental and shipping groups are calling for measures to be taken so such a disaster never occurs again, reports the LA Times this week.

The coaltion is suggesting having emergency tugboats along the Alaskan Archipelago in order to react quickly should such and incident ever happen again.

In a blog post on December 8, 2012 on the Ocean Foundation website, Richard Steiner, a professor and conservation biologist describes Arctic shipping as “a disaster waiting to happen.”

Between 10 and 20 freighters travel near the 1,200-mile Alaskan Aleutian chain to go between Asia and North America, he writes. 

To read more in Steiner’s blog “Arctic Shipping is a Disaster Waiting to Happen,” click here

To read more in the LA Times, click here

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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