Coast Guard escorts passenger vessel to Petersburg, investigates grounding

KODIAK, Alaska – The 75-foot passenger vessel Catalyst safely moored in Petersburg early Wednesday morning after the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and crew escorted the vessel from Robert Island following a grounding while nine passengers and four crewmembers were whale watching Tuesday.

The Catalyst safely moored at about 2:30 a.m. and is scheduled to be in dry dock Wednesday evening. A Coast Guard marine inspector will evaluate the vessel Thursday and will make a determination as to when the Catalyst can return to service.

The Catalyst re-floated about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday on a high tide near Robert Island. The passengers and crew, who had been standing by on Robert Island, were transferred back to the passenger vessel by a Liberty small boat crew to retrieve their personal belongings before they boarded the Liberty for the transit to Petersburg.

The captain of the Catalyst reported to the Coast Guard that the vessel had grounded about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday with approximately 1,600 gallons of diesel on board, but there were no signs of pollution or visual damage and no injuries.

The Catalyst is homeported out of Friday Harbor, Wash. The Liberty is a 110-foot multi-mission patrol boat homeported in Auke Bay and operates in the waters around Southeast Alaska.

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