Back to top

M/V Selendang Ayu

Oil Spill | Unalaska, Alaska | December 8, 2004

What Happened?

While traveling through the Aleutian Islands, the M/V Selendang Ayu experienced engine trouble. On December 8, 2004, the vessel grounded in rough seas off Unalaska Island, Alaska and broke in half. The rupture resulted in the release of about 350,000 gallons of oil and diesel, as well as 132 million pounds of soybeans.

What Were the Impacts?

Resource impacts from the spill included the following:

  • Shoreline - Approximately 86 miles of beach, rocky shore and vegetated shoreline habitats were oiled.
  • Birds - 1,795 oiled bird carcasses were collected and oiling on live oiled birds was observed; total bird deaths have not yet been determined.
  • Fish and shellfish - Oil was found in subtidal habitats and anadromous streams and lingering oil was found in shellfish up to three years after the spill. Fish and shellfish were likely impacted by oil but no mortalities were directly observed.
  • Marine mammals – At least two sea otter were determined to have died because of exposure to oil. Oiled live harbor seals were observed. The full extent of dead sea otters and impacts to other marine mammals are unknown.
  • Human uses – Oil contaminated commercial fish grounds and subsistence use area. The State temporary closed all fisheries in the Makushin/Skan Bay area. The spill and response activities impacted subsistence and recreational use of resources

What’s Happening Now?

NOAA is working with co-trusteesGovernment officials acting on behalf of the public when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources. to complete a natural resource damage assessment. Starting in 2004 the trustees worked cooperatively with the Responsible PartyThe individuals, companies, or government agencies responsible for an oil spill, hazardous substance release, or ship grounding incident. to carry out studies of injuries to natural resources and services. The cooperative agreement was terminated after the Responsible Party reached their limit of liability. As injury quantification and restoration planning have not been completed the trustees are seeking funding from the National Pollution Funds Center to complete the injury assessment and restoration plan. Once the restoration plan is complete, the Trustees will seek funding for restoration implementation. 

The vessel broke in two, releasing about 350,000 of petroleum fuel and marine diesel.
The vessel broke in two, releasing about 350,000 of petroleum fuel and marine diesel.


Sarah Allan
NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division
Anchorage, AK
(907) 271-5146


Last updated August 14, 2020