Response crews find no fuel aboard grounded fishing vessel

KODIAK, Alaska - The 68-foot Kodiak-based fishing vessel Midnite Sun remains grounded at Tanaak Cape 36 miles northwest of Kodiak Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, at 11:43 a.m. and salvage operations are underway. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak rescued five crewmembers from the vessel Friday at 1:38 a.m. in 52 mph winds and 18 to 20 foot seas. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Sara Francis

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Commercial response crews found the Midnite Sun still aground on Afognak Island Tuesday, however, recent severe weather in the area attributed to a compromise of the vessel’s hull on the rocky shore.

Surveys by the response crewmembers found all fuel tanks on board the vessel had been compromised resulting in a total loss of fuel from the ship.

“Weather has been a huge factor in the ongoing response to the grounding of the Midnite Sun,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Francis Schiano, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage marine science technician overseeing the response. “We were able to take advantage of the clear weather yesterday to get aboard the Midnite Sun and begin working at removing all potential hazards.”

All response efforts have been put on hold as another weather system moved into the area Wednesday. Crews are on standby for another break in the weather to continue removing any remaining hazardous fluids from the vessel including 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid and 100 gallons of lube oil.

Response crews have surveyed the areas surrounding the vessel and have found no signs of pollution or impact to the local environment or wildlife.

The Coast Guard and the State of Alaska continue to oversee the clean up response efforts, working together with the commercial response crews to ensure the safety of the maritime environment.

The Midnite Sun crew ran aground and was safely rescued by a Coast Guard Air Station MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew Feb. 11, 2011.

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