Coast Guard responding to sunken vessel on James River, Virginia

Sonar image depicting a sunken vessel on the James River in Virginia, May 27, 2021. (Photo by Chesterfield County Virginia Marine Team/Released)

Sonar image depicting a sunken vessel on the James River in Virginia, May 27, 2021. (Photo by Chesterfield County Virginia Marine Team)

NORFOLK, Va. — The Coast Guard and partner agencies are cautioning mariners and recreational boaters while transiting in the James River due to a sunken vessel causing a hazard to navigation, Thursday.

The channel is currently open with restrictions with the submerged hazard to navigation in position 37-25.348’N 077-23.936’W. Vessels with a draft of 20 feet or more are prohibited from transiting on the James River in Henrico, Virginia between Light 158 and Light 160 without permission of the Captain of the Port. All other vessels should use caution when transiting the area.

Coast Guard Sector Virginia watchstanders were alerted to the sunken vessel, Sanmar, after they received notification from Henrico and Chesterfield County Fire Departments of sheening on the water. To date, no recoverable product has been discovered and as of Thursday, no additional sheening has been observed along the shoreline.

The Coast Guard federalized the response and accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust fund for pollution response.

A survey was conducted on Wednesday and concluded that the 35-foot cabin cruiser is a hazard to navigation in the channel.

The Coast Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and other partner agencies are developing a salvage plan.

Currently, there are no correlating search and rescue incidents, no known missing persons, or any signs of distress in the area.

Efforts are ongoing.

If anyone has any information about the owner of the vessel or has seen the vessel before, please contact the Coast Guard Sector Virginia Command Center at 757-483-8567.

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