Coast Guard investigating vessel sinking in Southeast Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska NewsJUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of the fishing vessel Mary Kay near Dixon Entrance Friday.

The Coast Guard is coordinating an overflight of the 84-foot vessel, reported to have sunk Thursday night in about 600-feet of water with a potential fuel load of 2,500 gallons of diesel aboard. It is not reported to be a hazard to navigation.

“We are investigating the cause of the sinking and any potential pollution but it is unlikely the vessel will be recovered due to the depth of water it sank in,” said Lt. Ryan Erickson, a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “We were very fortunate to have so many good Samaritans respond to this sinking which limited the amount of time the crew was exposed to the elements.”

The Coast Guard was notified at about 10:46 p.m. Thursday that the vessel was taking on water off Cape Chacon near South Prince of Wales Island. Coast Guard Sector Juneau issued an urgent marine information broadcast to which several vessels and aircraft responded.

An 18-foot Alaska Wildlife Trooper skiff that self-launched from Cordova Bay and a tender from the good Samaritan fishing vessel Irish Rose were first to arrive on scene and located the four crewmen of the Mary Kay in immersion suits and a liferaft. The crew of the Alaska Wildlife Trooper skiff took the four survivors aboard from the liferaft and transferred them to the nearby good Samaritan fishing vessel North Wind.

The survivors reported no medical issues or injuries and were taken to Ketchikan aboard the North Wind. They arrived there early Friday morning.

In addition to the 18-foot skiff, the Irish Rose, and the fishing vessel North Wind, the Alaska State Trooper vessel Enforcer, Canadian coast guard vessel Bartlett and a Canadian aircraft responded to the UMIB. The Coast Guard ordered the launch of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew from Air Station Sitka, but good Samaritans arrived on scene prior to the helicopter crew’s departure from Sitka.

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