Officials investigate reports of oil patties near Dutch Harbor

Thursday, January 13, 2005 - by Dan Fiorucci

Anchorage, Alaska - There are new reasons to be worried tonight at the site of a wrecked freighter in the Aleutian Islands.

The Unified Command is reporting that tar patties have been spotted in Captain's Bay, located about a mile southwest of Dutch Harbor. Dutch Harbor is nearly 50 miles from the wreck of the Selendang Ayu.

If the tar is from the wreck, then it would mean oil has spread much farther than anyone suspected. There are fears that up to 300,000 gallons of intermediate fuel may have leaked from the Selendang Ayu, making it the worst oil spill in Alaska since the Exxon Valdez.

The Unified Command expects to know later tonight whether the tar patties are indeed from the wrecked freighter.