M/V Selendang Ayu Oil Spill Cultural Resources Investigations: 2004-2006
Among our vast experience with cultural resources support for contaminant spills, NLUR acted as the Historic Properties Specialist (HPS) for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for the clean up and monitoring for the M/V Selendang Ayu fuel oil, diesel, and soybean spill. In December 2004, the M/V Selendang Ayu lost power and ran aground along the northwestern shore of Unalaska Island. The vessel split in half, releasing over 330,000 gallons of fuel oil and diesel and 60,000 tons of soybeans. As part of the Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties During Emergency Response Under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan developed and signed by the Advisory Council, National Conference of SHPOs, USCG, the EPA, NOAA, and several other federal agencies, the Federal On Scene Coordinator is responsible for activating an HPS for spills that may threaten cultural resources. For the Selendang Ayu spill, the Federal On Scene Coordinator, the USCG, activated a term contract with NLUR to provide HPS Services. NLUR worked with the Responsible Party lead archaeologist Chris Wooley, Chumis Cultural Resources Services, to survey, monitor, and provide condition assessments on cultural resources within impacted areas. In addition, NLUR provided cultural resources consultation services with state and federal agencies and affected interested parties, including four primary Village Corporation landowners and the Qawalangin Tribe.
The cultural resource program led to relocating over 50 previously-known prehistoric sites (and even more WWII and historic features), recording detailed descriptive information at 7 known sites and 7 newly discovered sites, and locating roughly 40 previously unknown historic and prehistoric sites. A large number of possible sites and areas to investigate further were also identified. The Selendang Ayu response provided significant cultural resource site inventory data along the northwest coast of Unalaska Island while providing effective emergency management of the resource during the oil spill response.