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EPA orders Southwest Marine in American Samoa to stop oil discharge into Pago Pago Harbor

Release Date: 11/24/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered Southwest Marine of Samoa to prepare and implement a plan to prevent any more oil discharges into Pago Pago Harbor from its above-ground storage tanks in American Samoa.

Southwest Marine operates a dry dock facility at the harbor where EPA inspectors found indications that oily bilge water and other oils were being discharged from the facility during inspections in October 2003.

"It is critical that facilities such as Southwest Marine have oil spill control plans and effective spill containment in place to prevent oil and oily bilge water from contaminating the environment," said John McCarroll, manager of EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office. "Delicate coral reef ecosystems and all marine species are easily harmed by oil spills that could have been prevented with the proper plans and containment."

Officials from the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region are overseeing the cleanup and response actions to be taken by Southwest Marine.

Pago Pago Harbor is home to many coral reefs and marine species such as sea turtles. Oil spills and other contamination from onshore sources can pollute and harm coral and marine life. The EPA requires near shore oil storage facilities to have spill control and countermeasure plans approved, along with spill containment in place to prevent oil from being discharged into the ocean.

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