Coast Guard continues to respond to sunken vessel near Juneau, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Natural Resources joined Coast Guard Sector Juneau personnel in responding to the tugboat, Challenger, which sank in Juneau’s Gastineau channel Sept. 12, 2015.

Global Diving & Salvage and Southeast Alaska Lighterage ( SEAL ) were contracted and have removed all accessible pollution sources and hazards from the vessel. SEAL replaced the boom around the vessel Wednesday. The Coast Guard and DEC will continue monitoring for any further oil seepage and environmental impacts.

Sector Juneau opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund ( OSLTF ) in the amount of $50,000 to manage the case federally and mitigate any potential environmental impact. The Coast Guard will continue to keep the OSLTF open in support of funding the active monitoring of the site.

“Our focus is on the safety of the mariners who use the waterways and the environment,” said Cmdr. Marc Burd, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “We are working with the Seventeenth Coast Guard District and NOAA to conduct a detailed analysis of he channel where the vessel sank. Additionally, Sector Juneau will request to more formally mark the wreckage through local notice to mariners, ensuring vessels transiting the area steer clear.”

The individual identified as the owner has been contacted and directed to remove the tug from state tide and submerge land. The owner was reminded of their financial responsibility for the incident.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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