Coast Guard approves removal of Sound Developer from Cordova Harbor

17th Coast Guard District NewsVALDEZ, Alaska – With the recent approval of the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Robert J. Papp, efforts by personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez are underway to remove the sunken landing craft Sound Developer from Cordova Harbor.

“Through coordination with our contracting office, the City of Cordova, and natural resource trustees we are making every effort possible to ensure the removal of the Sound Developer before next year’s fishing season,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Hawkins, commanding officer MSU Valdez.

Raising the vessel and moving it to shore for cleaning will eliminate an ongoing pollution threat to Cordova and the sensitive waters of Orca Inlet. The 117-foot landing craft sank at its mooring near the entrance to the small boat harbor in Cordova August 2009. Since sinking, the vessel has continuously produced oil sheen in the harbor, and efforts to mitigate environmental damage through containment and cleaning activities have been ongoing.

In light of past unsuccessful salvage efforts and the vessel owner’s abandonment of the vessel, personnel from MSU Valdez, in consultation with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Interior, and the City of Cordova, sought approval from the Commandant of the Coast Guard to raise the sunken vessel and completely remove the ongoing threat of pollution.

The commandant’s approval to remove the Sound Developer is only one of many steps that must be completed prior to actually raising the sunken vessel. In cooperation with local, state, and other federal agencies, the Coast Guard will identify a contractor to raise and move the vessel to a designated remediation location to clean all oil residues from it. While doing so, the contractor will be required to ensure pollution containment and recovery equipment is on-site to recover any oily waste. In addition, in consultation with key natural resource and endangered species trustees, the Coast Guard will ensure all transportation, relocation, and remediation actions will minimally impact the local environment.

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