Oil Spill Devastates Alaska...Again

Feature story - December 14, 2004
Fifteen years after the Exxon Valdez devastated the Alaskan coast, another oil spill is making headlines. A Malaysian freighter lost power to its main engine on December 7, 2004 and ran aground on the west-side of Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Island chain. The ship was carrying 483,000 gallons of heavy bulk fuel and another 21,000 of diesel fuel.

Greenpeace campaigner, Melanie Duchin monitoring the environmental impacts of the oil spill resulting from the shipwreck of the Malaysian freighter Selendang.

Adding to the tragedy, six crew members from the ship were lost during a rescue attempt when the helicopter trying to retrieve them crashed. We are incredibly saddened for the families of the missing crew.

The spilled oil threatens a nearby wildlife refuge home to such species as sea otters, harbor seals, halibut and tanner crabs. Though this oil spill is small compared to Exxon Valdez, the type of oil is difficult to break up and the accident's proximity to a wildlife refuge makes it particularly dangerous.

Greenpeace is on the scene, meeting with residents and the local fishing community and offering wildlife and oil spill experience when needed. It is our hope the focus of this disaster will not solely be on oil spill response, but more importantly on preventing such accidents before they happen.

Our pictures of the shipwreck site are now available to view.