Coast Guard monitors salvage effort of Lu Lu Belle near Hinchinbrook Entrance

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard is monitoring the pollution response and salvage effort of the 65-foot passenger vessel Lu Lu Belle which is currently being towed by two commercial fishing vessels from Port Etches scheduled to arrive at the port of Valdez this afternoon where it will be removed from the water to make repairs to the vessel.

Seven hundred gallons of diesel fuel were safely litered from the vessel prior to commencing towing operations.

MSU Valdez personnel and a salvage contractor surveyed the Lu Lu Belle following its grounding near Hinchinbrook Entrance in Prince William Sound 50 miles south of Valdez Saturday.

MSU personnel reported the vessel’s two fuel tanks remained intact and no visible sheen was reported. Initial estimates placed 400 gallons of diesel on board but once litering operations commenced further calculations revealed the amount to be 700 gallons of diesel.

R&R Diving was contracted to carry out salvage of the vessel. They arrived from Port Etches with booming and salvage equipment Saturday afternoon.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew forward deployed to Cordova rescued the two crewmembers of the 65-foot passenger after Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center personnel received a call from them over VFH-FM radio reporting the grounding at 3:52 a.m. Saturday. There were no injuries.

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