Mar-Gun response ongoing, progress hampered by adverse weather

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Response efforts to lighter and recover the fishing vessel Mar-Gun from Staraya Beach on St. George Island are ongoing but progress has been delayed due to adverse weather conditions since Friday.

The total volume of diesel, lube and hydraulic oil removed is 17,195 gallons. The volumes of fuel and oils on board are slightly more than initial estimates provided to responders by the fishing vessel’s crew.

Approximately 2,600 gallons of diesel, lube and hydraulic oil remains on board. A portion will be lightered when weather conditions permit safe operations. Response crews plan to leave 800 gallons of diesel and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil on the vessel to run generators that will aid them in further lightering and the recovery of Mar-Gun.

Plans for recovery of the vessel are in development while repairs to the hull in the engine room have begun.

“We recognize the subsistence concerns that exist statewide and we are committed to protecting the region’s natural resources from any pollution threat while providing for the uninterrupted flow of commerce,” said Cmdr. Joseph LoSciuto, deputy commander Sector Anchorage and federal on scene commander for the response. “We will bring to bear all available resources and personnel in this pursuit.”

Shoreline clean-up and assessment teams have been monitoring the beach and adjacent rookeries, sensitive habitat and historical sites. No oiling or wildlife impacts have been noted.

Development of a subsistence sampling plan is continuing. It will be implemented following the recovery of Mar-Gun.

High winds from the north are creating dangerous surf conditions preventing progress, teams are using this time for planning and crew reliefs. The Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team members deployed on March 5 are returning to their base in California while local Coast Guard members and civilian contractors will continue operations.

Weather conditions today are reportedly 35 mph from the north with seas to nine feet and air temperatures in the teens. These conditions can produce freezing spray and icing on the vessel. Winds are expected to drop slightly over the next two days and may allow for continued progress.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage personnel are investigating the cause of the incident.

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