Coast Guard to conduct oil removal operations from grounded Mar-Gun

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Factors regarding the sensitive nature of the environment on and around St. George Island have prompted the Coast Guard to mobilize the National Strike Force’s Pacific Strike Team to respond to the pollution threat posed by the grounded 112-foot fishing vessel Mar-Gun today.

“This move will allow responders to take advantage of the current weather window and begin pollution mitigation operations a day sooner than commercial entities are able to,” said Cmdr. Joe LoSciuto, ?federal on scene coordinator and deputy commander Sector Anchorage.

Information provided by the Department of Interior and State of Alaska indicates Staraya Beach on the north end of St. George Island ?is home to fur seal and sea lion rookeries and haul outs and many species of marine birds. The beach is also adjacent to an archeological site of a historic Russian Aleutian settlement.

Six members of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Strike Team are en route from their home base in Novato, Calif., and are expected to arrive in St. George Friday. Additional Coast Guard personnel from Sector Anchorage and District Seventeen will also deploy to the scene. Using strike team and Navy Supervisor of Salvage equipment delivered by a Coast Guard C-130, the team will work to safely remove the 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 668 gallons of lube oil reported to be aboard the Mar-Gun. No pollution has been reported.

The five-man crew of the Mar-Gun was rescued from the vessel by Coast Guard helicopter Thursday and safely delivered to St. Paul. The crew reportedly transferred the fuel on board to tanks located away from the outer ?hull in an effort to preempt any discharge before leaving the vessel.

The Mar-Gun is a stern trawler based out of Seattle. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding.

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