Coast Guard, state agencies monitoring area where fishing vessel Rascal sank

KODIAK, Alaska – Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka and state agencies are monitoring where the 36-foot fishing vessel Rascal sank near St. Lazaria Island Monday after it reportedly grounded Saturday evening for potential environmental hazards.

An Air Station Sitka helicopter crew observed a light rainbow sheen about 500 yards wide and about two miles long Sunday indicating diesel fuel from the Rascal that was moving toward Cape Edgecumbe. The Rascal is completely sunk in the water and does not pose a navigational hazard.

A subsequent over flight by an Air Station Sitka helicopter crew Monday reported no sheen and no debris from the site where the vessel sank. MSD Sitka is also investigating the cause of the sinking.

MSD Sitka personnel are working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Alaska Department of Interior personnel to identify any resources at risk and determine any appropriate pollution response plans and tactics if needed.

“The Coast Guard is working diligently with state agencies to minimize any threat to the environment from this incident,” said Lt. Latarsha McQueen, Sector Juneau incident management division chief. “We have not received any additional reports of sheening in the area and we will continue to assess the situation to determine the best course of action as we receive more information from the site.”

St. Lazaria Island is a nesting bird colony located twenty miles west of Sitka and is a part of the Gulf of Alaska unit of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

An Air Station Sitka helicopter crew hoisted Lyle Martin after he abandoned the Rascal Saturday. The helicopter crew safely delivered him to emergency medical personnel who then transferred him to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. Martin was then medevaced to Anchorage.

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