Coast Guard responds to tug grounding in the Neva Strait, Alaska

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Daniel, an aviation maintenance technician at Air Station Sitka, observes an oil sheen surrounding the Western Mariner, an 83-foot inspected tug, in Neva Strait March, 21, 2022. Western Mariner ran aground while towing Chichagof Provider, a 286-foot containerized barge in Neva Strait. No injuries were reported, and all fuel manifolds on board the tug were secured to isolate the ruptured tank. A Unified Command comprised of the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Western Towboat has been established. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Wereda.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Daniel, an aviation maintenance technician at Air Station Sitka, observes an oil sheen surrounding the Western Mariner, an 83-foot inspected tug, in Neva Strait March, 21, 2022.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Wereda.

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Western Towboat have established a unified command in response to a tug grounding in the Neva Strait, Monday.

No injuries have been reported and all four crew members were safely transferred from Western Mariner, an 83-foot inspected tug, to a nearby vessel. All fuel manifolds on board the tug have been secured to isolate the ruptured tank, and fuel offload efforts have commenced.

A sheen was observed around the tug, and containment measures have been deployed to reduce the spread of oil. The tug owner, Western Towboat, has contracted Hanson Maritime, SEAPRO, and Global Diving & Salvage to respond.

Multiple vessels, including tugs Banner and Salvation, and fishing vessel Nushagak Spirit, are on scene tending the barge, which has now been anchored in Neva Strait with no impact to vessel traffic.

The Coast Guard has deployed responders to oversee response operations. Natural resource agencies are assessing potential environmental impacts, and the Coast Guard is consulting with federally recognized tribes in the area.

Watchstanders in the Sector Juneau command center received a radio call at 2:55 a.m. from Western Mariner stating that while towing Chichagof Provider, a 286-foot containerized barge, in Neva Strait, the barge collided with the tug causing it to run hard aground. The collision caused a rupture to one of the tug’s fuel tanks, which contains a maximum capacity of 13,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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