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USCG Permits Matson Ship to Dock in Alaska with Small Lubricant Leak

containership leaking lubricant docks in Alaska
Maunalei docked in Alaska overthe weekend with a small lubricant leak (Matson file photo)

Published Aug 8, 2022 12:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

An inbound Matson container ship was permitted by the U.S. Coast Guard to proceed to Alaska over the weekend despite the fact the vessel is currently leaking a lubricant. The Coast Guard believes the risk is minor and because of the urgent nature of the cargo decided to let the vessel proceed to the Port of Alaska near Anchorage to unload before effecting repairs at a U.S. shipyard.

The Maunalei has an overall length of 681 feet and a carrying capacity of 1,992 TEU. Built in 2006, the 33,771 dwt vessel was running along the Alaskan coast when the leak was reported. The Coast Guard said it received the first report of the leak on August 4. The vessel was permitted to dock at the Port of Alaska on August 7 and remains under observation by the Coast Guard.

"The vessel contains perishable cargo and other supplies for distribution throughout Alaska," said Capt. Leanne Lusk, the Captain of the Port of Anchorage. "After coordinating with federal, state, and local stakeholders, and balancing the risk to the supply chain with the risk to the environment, I have authorized the vessel to continue its transit into Anchorage."

After a review of the situation, the U.S. Coast Guard is reporting that the Maunalei is discharging a biodegradable, environmentally acceptable lubricant at a rate of approximately six gallons per hour. Given the low toxicity of the lubricant, the strong tidal currents, and the slow release rate, the Coast Guard reports that threats to the wildlife and resources in the region are anticipated to be minimal.

Following the offload of cargo, Matson has arranged for the vessel to transit to a dry dock in the lower 48 to begin repairs. Her AIS signal shows she is heading to Portland, Oregon where she is expected to arrive on August 13.