Coast Guard, state continue to monitor sunken tug vessel Powhatan in Sitka, Alaska

Coast Guard Sector Juneau CrestJUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation continue to monitor the out-of-service tug Powhatan that sank at a pier in Sitka, April 19.

A crane barge that will be used to hoist the Powhatan is on its way from Seattle and expected to arrive in Sitka Saturday. The evolution to raise the tug is expected to take up to 10 days.

After sinking at a pier in Sitka, the tug Powhatan slid approximately 300 yards down a bank ultimately settling in 160 to 180 feet of water. The tug’s owner, Samson Tug and Barge Company, contracted Southeast Alaska Petroleum for pollution recovery and Alaska Commercial Divers to plug vents and survey the vessel underwater. Since the sinking, an estimated 400 gallons of mixed product has released from the sunken tug. MSD Sitka approved a wreck removal and pollution mitigation plan submitted by Samson Tug and Barge Company.

Although no pollution has been observed at Starrigavan Bay, deflective boom was set in place to protect Starrigavan Estuary and No Name Creek, as well as warning signs on shore to notify the public. The boom around No Name Creek has since been removed. The deflective boom protecting Starrigavan Estuary remains in place. Test samples of mussels, clams, mud and sediment in Starrigavan Bay were collected for further environmental testing.

“In preparation for lifting operations, preventative containment boom will be increased from 2,800 feet to 3,500 feet,” said Lt. Kate Peet, incident management chief at Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “Public notifications will be posted at marinas near Starrigavan Bay, and a broadcast notice to mariners on VHF-FM channel 22A will announce further details to the local boating community, including a 400-yard no-wake zone.”

The Coast Guard Auxiliary in Sitka will be underway to ensure public safety during the lifting operations.

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