Coast Guard responds to pollution after vessel sinks off San Juan Island

Sector Puget Sound LogoSEATTLE — The Coast Guard is responding to a pollution incident off San Juan Island, Washington, after the 49-foot commercial fishing vessel Aleutian Isle sank Saturday near Sunset Point with an estimated 2,600 gallons of diesel and oil on board.

All five crewmembers were rescued by a Good Samaritan as the vessel sank.

At approximately 2 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a report that the fishing vessel Aleutian Isle was taking on water and in need of emergency assistance. Crews aboard an Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, a Station Bellingham 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, and the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Swordfish (WPB-87358) responded.

Once notified that all crewmembers were accounted for, the Coast Guard initiated pollution survey and initial response efforts alongside partner agencies. At approximately 5 p.m. a visible sheen covering 1.75 miles was observed by on-scene personnel.

The Coast Guard is working with the Canadian Regional Operation Center as the incident occurred near the maritime border. Additionally, the Coast Guard is working with the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management, Washington State Department of Ecology, the Island Oil Spill Association and others.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is conducting a resources at risk assessment and spill trajectory analysis. Specific attention is being given to protecting marine mammals in the area.

The National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was authorized to allocate $130,000 for commercial pollution response and salvage operations. Contractors are actively working to minimize impact to sensitive areas of the shoreline.

A Sector Puget Sound Incident Management Division pollution response team is en route to conduct further surveys and supervise contractor containment and removal of recoverable pollutants.

“We are working with government and industry partners to ensure an efficient and effective containment and recovery response,” said Lt. Cdr. Brian Dykens, Sector Puget Sound Incident Management Division Chief. “The local public, the environment and protected marine species are our top priority.”

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