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No Sign of Spill as Salvage Team Reaches Stranded Alaska Oil Rig

Jan 3, 2013
(Los Angeles Times)

SEATTLE — A salvage team was able to board the stranded Kulluk oil rig where it remained beached Wednesday on a remote Alaska shoreline, and authorities said there was still no evidence of fuel leakage into the churning surf.

But questions remained about whether the fuel tanks aboard the vessel were completely undamaged, Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler, the federal response commander, said at a briefing Wednesday night.

Authorities are primarily worried that fuel stored on board the vessel could leak and endanger the abundant wildlife that populates that part of the Gulf of Alaska — only a few hundred miles from where the Exxon Valdez leaked a tanker full of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989 and devastated fisheries for years.