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Oil Spill Greater Than First Estimated

December 29, 1985|Associated Press

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — About 50% more oil was dumped in waters near the Pacific than first estimated after a tanker ran aground last week, and patches of oil have spread to more beaches, officials say.

The Arco Anchorage spilled about 189,000 gallons of Alaskan crude oil into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which links Puget Sound with the Pacific, Atlantic Richfield Co. officials said Friday. Earlier estimates placed the amount at 123,900 gallons.

Clallam County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Borte reported Friday that oil had washed ashore as far as Agate Point, 15 miles west of here. Previously, beaches were known to be contaminated only at Port Angeles and to the east.

Patches of oil have also been spotted 25 miles west of Port Angeles, compared to 15 miles before, Borte said.

Several boats equipped with vacuums were being used on the spill, and more than 2,300 barrels had been collected, Coast Guard and Arco officials said.

Officials say 460 of the 1,360 oil-covered birds brought to a rescue center at a local high school have died. Nineteen have been released. About 800 oily birds remain in the water, Borte said.

Arco has said it will pay for the cleanup, which could reach $1 million, and reimburse Clallam County for its costs. The county has already spent more than $4,000, officials said.

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