On December 30, 2003, a 4620 gallon spill of heavy oil occurred from the tank barge FOSS 248-P2 as it was loading bunker fuel at the Chevron Point Wells oil storage facility at Shoreline (Seattle), Washington. Under the Northwest Area Contingency Plan (NWACP), a unified command made up of a responsible party Incident Commander (IC) from Foss Maritime, a federal on-scene coordinator (OSC) from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), a state OSC from the Washington Department of Ecology, a tribal OSC from the Suquamish Tribe and a local OSC from the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (KDEM) formed to manage the spill. A large on-water response force was mobilized but the oil quickly impacted an important environmentally sensitive marsh and beaches owned by both the Suquamish Tribe and the State of Washington. Commercial and recreational shellfish beds, beach sediments, a pristine marsh and high use public beaches were all affected by the spill. A significant four-month cleanup effort occurred on the beaches and marsh to remove the oil. Operational cleanup endpoints were established for the beaches and marsh. Shellfish and sediment sampling and monitoring plans were developed jointly by agency and tribal workgroups. The Suquamish Tribe was placed in the lead for conducting beach surveys under a long term monitoring plan approved by the unified command. The five members of the unified command faced major challenges during the spill due to overlapping federal, state, local and tribal jurisdictions, land ownership disputes, political consequences, cleanup/operational problems, shellfish and sediment contamination concerns, public outreach issues and the inexperience of several agencies involved. This paper will explore the unique challenges faced by the unified command in responding to the spill.

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