Update to Coast Guard response to Seattle fishing vessel aground in Prince William Sound

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter arrived on scene at 1:25 p.m. Monday, lowering two dewatering pumps to the crew of the grounded fishing vessel Cape Cross and the Coast Guard Cutter Long Island arrived on scene at approximately 8 p.m. Monday with two Marine Safety Unit Valdez salvage response personnel aboard to work with the Cape Cross crew to assess the situation and minimize pollution, providing two additional dewatering pumps.

However, the hole in the main engine room could not be plugged and the flooding continued. At approximately 10 p.m. Monday with heavy rains, a rising tide, and unsuccessful attempts to dewater the vessel, MSU Valdez personnel on scene removed all salvage crews from the vessel for their safety.

The fishing vessel Cape Cross crew was able to cover all fuel vents to restrict potential flow of fuel from the vessel. At approximately 5:15 a.m. Tuesday, the Cape Cross listed 90 degrees to port.

R & R Diving Company, hired by the Cape Cross’s insurance company, reported to the scene at 6:30 a.m. and determined the vessel is salvageable and have installed boom to contain the sheening.

“There is a light sheen surrounding the vessel from the bilge residue coming out of the engine room,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erin Williams, alternate Captain of the Port of Prince William Sound. “The personnel on scene report that the diesel tanks do not appear to be leaking at this time.”

The Cape Cross grounded in Main Bay more than one mile away from the Main Bay Salmon Hatchery located in the western portion of Prince William Sound Monday. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and local stakeholders have been notified. Alaska Department of Fish and Game has temporarily closed the commercial fishery in Main Bay in response to the grounding.

The current plan is to ensure that the Cape Cross and nearby hatchery are isolated by containment boom. Once on scene, salvage crews are scheduled to begin lightering all the fuel from the vessel, begin repairs and salvage the vessel. The vessel’s condition and salvage plans will be monitored by Coast Guard personnel.

The on-scene weather is light winds, misting rains, and no sea swell. The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

The vessel’s master reported 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 300 gallons of lube oil, and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil, and an undetermined amount of gasoline on board. The Coast Guard hired the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System for pollution response under the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. SERVS has mobilized six response vessels to Main Bay which three are now on scene to assist.

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