Developing Story

Ammonia leak contained near Sitka processor

Workers evacuate after an ammonia leak from a boat tied up at Sitka Sound Seafoods. The leak happened at about 11:15 a.m., and was contained shortly afterward. Workers were told to go to lunch and meet back at 1 p.m. in the break room. (KCAW photo by Erik Neumann)

Workers evacuate after an ammonia leak from a boat tied up at Sitka Sound Seafoods. The leak happened at about 11:15 a.m., and was contained shortly afterward. Workers were told to go to lunch and meet back at 1 p.m. in the break room. (KCAW photo by Erik Neumann)

Workers from seafood processors near downtown Sitka walk down Katlian Street after being evacuated Monday morning. An ammonia leak from a tied-up vessel forced the closure of the road and the evacuation of nearby buildings. (KCAW photo by Erik Neumann)

Workers from seafood processors near downtown Sitka walk down Katlian Street after being evacuated Monday morning. An ammonia leak from a tied-up vessel forced the closure of the road and the evacuation of nearby buildings. (KCAW photo by Erik Neumann)

UPDATE 4:35 p.m. – We’ve posted a full story based on our reporting today.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m. – Safety zone around vessel is lifted.
The vessel involved in Monday’s leak is the Eigil B. This story has been corrected to replace an incorrect name originally provided to KCAW. The State of Alaska lists the Eigil B as an 86-foot tender registered out of Auburn, Wash. Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert says the Coast Guard established a 300-yard safety zone around the vessel when it was towed to deeper waters. That safety zone expired at 3 p.m. AKDT. Lt. Sean Erickson, chief of incident response for Coast Guard Sector Juneau, says the vessel’s owner is working on dealing with the leak, and that it will be towed back to town once a plan is in place.

UPDATE 12:31 p.m. - Road re-opened.
Emergency officials say Katlian Street is re-opened. Fire Chief Dave Miller says the vessel with the leak, the 86-foot Eigil B, was towed to deeper water to let the gas vent. Workers evacuated from Sitka Sound Seafoods were sent to lunch and told to report to the company’s break room at 1 p.m.

Miller says one person was transported to Sitka Community Hospital, and a couple others reported to SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, complaining of ammonia-related symptoms.

UPDATE 11:35 AM – Leak contained.
The Sitka Police Department reports that the ammonia leak aboard a processing vessel at Sitka Sound Seafoods has been contained. Katlian St. remains closed between ANB Harbor and the Petro gas station. 150 SSS employees were evacuated from the processing plant. One person is believed to have been injured in the incident. The smell of ammonia is noticeable in downtown Sitka. Police advise anyone bothered by the smell to leave the area.

FIRST REPORT 11:20 AM – Ammonia leak near Sitka Sound Seafoods.
The Sitka Firehall announced the closure of Katlian St. between the ANB Hall and the Petro gas station at 11:15 this morning (Mon 6-24-13) due to a reported ammonia leak aboard a vessel moored at Sitka Sound Seafoods. The public is encouraged to stay away from the area until the leak is contained. A voluntary evacuation has been advised for the neighborhood, including the STA offices.

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