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Mysteriously Oily Seabirds and Seals
Reuters reported over the weekend that representatives from the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation were headed to the isolated but inhabited St. Lawrence Island west of the Alaskan mainland in the Bering Sea to investigate reports of an unspecified number of oiled marine mammals and seabirds. NOAA the USFWS are also participating in the investigation.
None of the reports have been about endangered wildlife but the region is still home to species that are protected like whales.
The first report of an oiled seal was in September and a US Coast Guard spokesmen told Reuters that on Wednesday three murres, a black-and-white seabird prevalent to the region, were found oiled.
The US Census classifies the island as Block Group 6, Census Tract 1 of Nome Census Area Alaska pair that little tidbit with these others pulled from Wikipedia that say: “The island is part of Alaska, but closer to Siberia than to the Alaskan mainland” and “The island has no trees, and the only woody plants are Arctic Willow standing no more than a foot (30 cm) high.” All three combined make the island sound like a prison.
Despite the desolate description the island is home to the Siberian Yupik who hunt reindeer (introduced to the island in the 1900’s) for subsistence.
Officials will meet with Yupik villagers, survey beaches, and then try to find a cause for the oily animals because as of right now it’s a mystery.
The Alaska Dispatch website said an aerial investigation was conducted on Thursday and "no pollution appeared on the water." There has no been no reports of spills, or sunken ships, and the agencies involved are waiting for samples taken from the oily creatures to determine the substance’s origins.
The Anchorage Daily news is reporting instances of oil-soaked debris like ropes and wood which isn’t as heart-wrenching as soaked wildlife but still indicates there is oil in the water or for an inexplicable reason.
The comments section of the brief story was oddly silent and not one reader remarked before the section was closed per Reuters’ policy.
For once no one could be seen blaming the current administration for not doing enough to protect the region. No one mentioned Alaska’s own Sarah Palin, probably because she’s all but fallen off people’s radars. She briefly popped back up last week to endorse Mitt Romney via her Facebook page and those are all mysteries for another day and another blog.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.