Crescent City tsunami response update March 21, 2010

Location: Crescent City Inner Basin Harbor, Crescent City, California

Cause: Tsunami following 9.0 earthquake in Japan (March 11)

Operational Update:

  • Responders have removed approximately 800 cubic yards of debris from the inner boat basin.
  • Monday’s salvage operations include continued work on sunken vessels, removal of damaged docks and the repositioning of vessels in the inner boat basin.
  • The Unified Command is working with the Crescent City Harbor Master and vessel owners to reposition and remove boats as needed. Operations are focused on the cleanup of the inner boat basin.  Vessel owners who need to use the public boat lift are asked to leave their vessels in the water if they are in a safe place.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Global Diving and Salvage have completed their survey of the harbor using sonar technology. The information collected from the survey will allow the Unified Command to take appropriate actions to clean-up the harbor and make it safe for mariners to transit.
  • The Unified Command is preparing the harbor for the arrival of a heavy-lift crane barge to remove heavy debris. Pilings and dock fragments will be removed. Also, vessels will be refloated, repositioned and rigged for removal.
  • There are 85 responders working to remove environmental and navigational hazards from the Crescent City Harbor.
  • One of many goals is to move vessels to E Dock, so the owners can access them more easily.
  • Approximately 1,500-feet of hard and absorbent boom has been deployed to contain sources of sheen in the inner harbor and to mitigate harmful effects on the environment.
  • Underwater assessments continue to confirm the location of sunken vessels. Two contracted dive teams are assisting in the response efforts.
  • The Unified Command remains focused on using local resources whenever possible.


  • 47 vessels afloat but with some level of damage
  • 15 sunken vessels
  • 1 vessel removed
  • 1 vessel grounded at mouth of Elk River
  • Large debris including rocks, logs, and vessel debris is scattered about inner harbor and shore
  • Navigable waters status unknown; boaters should use extreme caution transiting the area
  • Significant damage to moorings and docks

Closures or restrictions:

  • Harbor access is restricted for public safety, but boat owners have some access to their vessels and property. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are required on all docks.
  • Harbor is closed to the public at night, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. until further notice.
  • To prevent crabs and other seafood from being contaminated and unmarketable, commercial fishermen are advised of the following protocol:
    o   Do not run circulation pumps on approach to or within entire Crescent City Harbor area
    o   Do not pull crab pots or other traps up through water if a visible sheen is present.
  • Safety zone in place for Crescent Harbor; no vessel movement without consent of USCG.
  • Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., C, D, E, and F docks are open to owners of vessels within the boomed off area. Vessel owners should contact Coast Guard Auxiliary members at the Harbor Office to schedule a visit. For emergencies only, owners wishing to access their vessels outside of that time frame may contact the Coast Guard. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Harbor operations:

Crescent City Harbor asks affected boat owners to contact the harbor at 707-464-6174 ext. 22 to provide the following information:

  • Boat name
  • Official number/vin
  • Fuel capacity
  • Actual fuel onboard
  • All contact information

Wildlife: No observed wildlife impacts at this time. Assessment will continue

Crews deployed: US Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), Harbor District Personnel and oil spill response organizations.

Information numbers:

  • Crescent City Harbor boat owners contact 707-464-6174 ext. 22
  • Report oil 1-800-852-7550
  • Report Injured Wildlife 1-877-823-6926

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