4 May 2007

Fuel assessed in US tanker sunk off American Samoa

2:12 pm on 4 May 2007

It has now been established in American Samoa how much fuel was in the naval tanker USS Chehalis when it sank in Pago Pago Harbour in 1949.

The 1,850-ton gasoline tanker supplied other US craft in the Second World War before it suffered a fuel explosion, burned and sank.

An assessment by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency of the condition of the tanker and what's on board has been completed.

The EPA's Peter Peschut explains says the assessment confirmed that there is fuel onboard.

"There's no black oil. There is about 100 and 15,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is about 5,000 gallons, the remaining is motor gasoline and aviation gas. So once letters are written to the appropriate agencies there will be a federal action to remove the fuel. It's far too expensive for the local government to do."

Peter Peschut of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency.