Unified command established in response to potential pollution from fishing vessel Akutan

UNALASKA, Alaska – The U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the city of Unalaska established a unified command in response to potential pollution from the fishing vessel Akutan near Unalaska, Alaska, Friday.

Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, the State of Alaska, the city of Unalaska and Resolve Marine Services, a salvage and repair company, are coordinating and overseeing the removal of environmental hazards, including anhydrous ammonia and various petroleum products onboard the fishing vessel Akutan.

The unified command determined the steps taken by the vessel owner and operator as inadequate to prevent a potential pollution incident. The approximately 166-foot fishing vessel began transiting to Dutch Harbor from Bristol Bay earlier this month. Due to various mechanical issues the vessel anchored in Captains Bay where it remains, deteriorating.

As a precaution Resolve Marine Services, working on contract through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, placed 400 feet of boom around the hull and has their vessel, Makushin Bay, currently standing by in Captains Bay. Resolve Marine Services also conducted limited maintenance operations on the Akutan and supplied enough fuel to the vessel to keep vital systems running. Without these systems, it is anticipated the vessel will sink.

“The unified command is working together to develop plans to mitigate potential pollution,” said Capt. Sean MacKenzie, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage commander. “We are committed to limiting environmental impacts and doing this as quickly and safely as possible.”

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