Coast Guard Responds to Fishing Vessel Around on Flemming Island

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Valdez, Alaska has responded to and is investigating the grounding of the fishing vessel Northern Mariner, which ran aground on the north side of Flemming Island Thursday night.

Two overflights by Alyeska and a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Support Facility Cordova revealed that the Northern Mariner is partially submerged at high tide and there is a 6-foot by two-foot sheen coming from the vessel. The sheen is believed to be from residual oil from the engine room.

The grounded vessel has 25,000 gallons of diesel, 50 gallons lube oil and 300 gallons of hydraulic oil. Fuel tanks are believed to be intact.

There is a reported one-foot hole in the hull and the engine room is flooded.

Three hundred feet of containment boom has been placed around the vessel by responders from Alaska Chadux.

Ship Escort/Response Vessel System’s (SERVS) vessels arrived in the area Friday morning and deployed protective staging in the vicinity of the salmon hatchery in Sawmill Bay and the adjacent village of Chenega, Alaska. SERVS also transported bladders for lightering operations and are standing by.

R&R Diving deployed two vessels and personnel to prepare pumps for lightering the fuel oil and plan to start late Friday afternoon as tanks arrive to hold the oils.

The owner is also working to determine the status of and appropriate disposition of over 350,000 pounds of pink salmon that was onboard.

A Coast Guard Marine Inspector and a pollution investigator are on scene to monitor lightering and salvage operations. Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and owner’s representatives have established a command post at the Marine Safety Unit in Valdez to coordinate all activities.

The Northern Mariner, a 110-foot fishing vessel homeported in Seattle, began taking on water Thursday night with four people aboard. The crew then intentionally grounded the vessel to keep it from sinking and abandoned the vessel in a life raft. The Good Samaritan vessel Tenacious recovered all four crewmembers safely and transported them to Whittier.

The cause of the vessel taking on water and the subsequent grounding are being investigated.

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