On November 26, 1997, the M/V Kuroshima, a 370-foot refrigerated cargo vessel owned by Kuroshima Shipping, S.A., broke away from its anchorage in Summer Bay on Unalaska Island, near Dutch Harbor, Alaska. While the vessel was attempting to move to a safer anchorage, winds reported to be in excess of 100 knots blew the freighter into Second Priest Rock, damaging several of the vessel's fuel tanks. The vessel subsequently ran aground on the shore of Summer Bay. Two crewmen were killed in the incident and approximately 39,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil were spilled. Much of the oil was blown upstream into Summer Bay Lake, which borders Summer Bay, with the remainder stranding along the shoreline of Summer Bay Beach and nearby Humpy and Morris Coves. High winds also blew oil onto the dunes and contaminated vegetation and an archaeological site. It was estimated that at least 2,000 birds were killed. Other natural resources impacted included shellfish, other intertidal biota, and several species of salmonid fish. Recreational uses of these natural resources were also impaired. Cleanup activities continued for approximately two years.
M/V Kuroshima hard aground at Summer Bay Beach, December 1997, Credit: US Coast Guard