Responders complete lightering operations on Mar-Gun, moving into recovery phase

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Lightering operations from the fishing vessel Mar-Gun grounded on St. George Island have been completed today.

A total of about 18,895 gallons of mixed oils have been removed. Approximately 700 gallons of diesel and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil remain on board to power the vessel generator in support of the vessel recovery operations.

The final offload of fuel was conducted using a helicopter to lift filled oil drums, rather than pumping through transfer lines over the water to shore.

“A significant piece of the pollution threat has been mitigated,” said Cmdr. Joseph LoSciuto, deputy commander Sector Anchorage and the federal on-scene coordinator for the response.

The responsible party, NOAA, the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation and Polaris Applied Sciences are working to develop a thorough subsistence sampling plan. Subsistence sampling will commence once the vessel is removed from the beach.

Crews have begun positioning equipment aboard the Mar-Gun for recovery operations. Crews are conducting further planning for the recovery which involves winching the vessel off the beach. Once off the beach responders intend to tow the vessel about 265 miles to Dutch Harbor.

“The vessel’s hull is currently in good condition,” said LoSciuto. “We also have a detailed report being reviewed by naval architects before we move forward.”

The recovery effort is weather dependant. Winds in the area today are reported at 17 mph with seas to five feet. The air temperature is around 11 degrees and has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heavy freezing spray warning for the area. Tuesday the wind chill is expected to be zero to 15 below. Winds are expected to increase Wednesday.

The Mar-Gun grounded on Staraya Beach located at the north end of St. George Island March 5. The crew was safely delivered to St. Paul a few hours after the grounding by Coast Guard helicopter. An investigation into the grounding continues.

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